BJP leader threatened Malwani Police Official, when latter insisted on registering molestation complaint against Ward President

A local BJP leader and president of ward number 33 in Malwani was arrested by the Malwani Police for allegedly molesting a 19-year-old girl.

The 37-year-old accused had allegedly touched the 19-year-old girl inappropriately, claims a Mid-day report.

It has now come to light that the accused was summoned to the police station on Sunday for investigation. When he came to know that a complaint was registered, he called up some big-wigs in the party.

Malwani police officials told that party leaders tried to pressurize them not to register the complaint and a leader even threatened the officer saying ‘tula bagun gheu‘.

Local BJP leaders from Malwani tried to force the ‘victim’ to ‘settle’ the matter and even offered Rs 3000 by way of ‘settlement’. But the police were adamant and said under the law they had to register an FIR in cases of crimes against women.

According to Mid-Day, the 37-year-old accused has been identified as Umesh Pande and was friends with the girl’s father. He had promised to help the 19-year-old girl to get a job.

Police officials had said that the girl’s father used to sometimes send water and tea whenever Pande had guests. When the girl’s father had gone out of town, instead of her father, she used to take tea and water to the accused’s office.

The alleged molestation incident took place on Saturday around 6.30 pm. The accused called the 19-year-old girl to his office on the pretext of the job, and that is when he allegedly touched her inappropriately.

After this, the girl slapped him and called for help, and the residents living nearby gathered and called the police. The girl has filed a complaint of molestation under Indian Penal code Section 354.

BJP North Mumbai district president Vinod Shelar told Mid-day, “When the incident came to my notice, I told the police to conduct a fair enquiry. But Pande is an active member and was doing good work in the area for the benefit of people. Due to political rivalry, someone has tried to damage his and the party’s image.”

Shelar accused the police of taking sides, but denied anyone tried to influence the police.

In the meanwhile, Umesh Pande was produced before the court on Sunday and remanded in judicial custody. He was subsequently granted bail, but ordered not to tamper with any evidence or approach the victim.

In spite of a national uproar, BJP MP Gopal Shetty still questions the role of Christians in the Indian Freedom Struggle, says it’s a debatable topic and refuses to apologize or withdraw earlier statements Bureau | Mumbai, Jul 6: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gopal Shetty who is known for his controversial remarks in the past, tendered his resignation on Friday after he stirred a controversy calling Christians ‘angrez’ who have not contributed to the freedom struggle. The incident occurred on Sunday July 1 at Malwani in suburban Mumbai.

The MP from Mumbai North Gopal Shetty is heard saying in a video clip, which has gone viral: “Christians were British; hence they didn’t participate in the freedom movement. India was not freed by Hindus or Muslims, we fought as one, as Hindustanis for our independence.”

Also Read: BJP MP Gopal Shetty abuses Christians using very vulgar language, says they are useless, good for nothing…

Shetty defended his statements, and at first said he was misinterpreted. On Tuesday and Wednesday, as the news broke out in the local media, Shetty initially tried to say he was misquoted and misrepresented and his comments were twisted or reported out of context. Possibly Shetty and his advisers did not themselves understand or realize the meaning and magnitude of his statements. Or it was a subtle and clever trick, with Shetty trying to appease one community in the sensitive Malwani area.

Also Read: After drama, BJP MP Gopal Shetty withdraws his resignation, but refuses to withdraw his words, or apologize, Christians left fuming

But as his recorded speech video clip went viral nationally on Friday and mainline Tv news channels began playing the video clip, Shetty did a U-turn. His party bosses did not bat for him and a dejected Shetty came to understand what he said and what was being interrupted. He then claimed he had not said something that required him to apologize. He told media that the fact is that people from every religion contributed for Indian freedom. However, he expressed unhappiness that his party did not stand by him.

Also Read: Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh, Mumbai Congress strongly condemn BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s attack on Christians

Amidst rising national outrage, Shetty said he stood by his comments. “I just said Catholics may not be in freedom struggle because it was the British rule.” “I have my freedom of expression and this statement can be debated if needed. I have offered my resignation from MP post to Maharashtra BJP president and now it is up to the party. I do not want to embarrass my party,” added Shetty. 

Catholics in Mumbai who have a sizable presence  in various sectors in the city, including Education, IT services, Banking & Finance and Media have not taken kindly to Shetty’s utterances. “We are Indians first and foremost. Shetty called us ‘Angrez’ or British in a derogatory way. He said since we were British, we did not participate in the Freedom Struggle. Doesn’t he understand what he was saying. Either he is playing dumb or trying to be very clever. All he had to do is say sorry, but he has refused to apologize. In spite of a national uproar and condemnation from his own party colleagues, he has added fuel to fire, by stating that the Christian contribution to the Freedom Struggle is a debatable topic. We are clear about our demands -we want an unconditional apology, or else we will take this matter to it’s legal conclusion. Shetty as an MP is expected to be a very responsible man. His constituency which comprises of Malad, Orlem, Borivili, Poisar, etc., has a sizable well-educated Christian population and the community’s contribution to the education sector is clearly evident by the several Church and convent schools in Shetty’s constituency,” said Gerard Lobo, who first submitted a written complaint to the Malwani Police Station.

Also Read: Mumbai Christians file Police Complaint against Gopal Shetty for derogatory language against community, demand unconditional apology 

Shetty had made the controversial statement while addressing a gathering during the Eid-E-Milad program organised by the Shia Kabrastan Committee at Malvani in Malad in Mumbai on Sunday, July 1.

The Mumbai Congress hit back at the MP on Wednesday. “It’s clear BJP MP is not aware of history, or is purposely trying to create discord among members of one community with such communally sensitive utterances,” the Mumbai Congress tweeted.

Also Read: In Pics: Mumbai Congress, Mahila Congress protest rally on Friday, against Gopal Shetty’s comments

The Telangana Congress also took a dig at the BJP. “Official written orders were passed by the heads of RSS & Hindu Mahasabha asking their cadre not to participate in Indian Freedom Struggle & this is “BJP” History !!” the INC Telangana tweeted.

Mumbai BJP President and MLA from Bandra West Ashish Shelar told media that BJP does not support such statements and supports the Christian community. “Though the MP did not mean what he said, he has been asked to withdraw the statement,” Shelar added.

Two years ago, Shetty had stirred trouble for his party by describing farmer suicides as a “fashion”.