Pune: Members of a Ganesh Mandal (puja organisers) in Pune publicly humiliated and forced 11 Muslim men to do sit-ups as punishment after they refused to pay donation for Ganeshotsav. The Muslim men, all in their 20s and 30s, were from Uttar Pradesh working in a bakery in Pune. Members of the Shri Ram Ganesh Mandal publicly humiliated the Muslim migrant workers and forced them to do sit-ups as punishment for not paying the donation demanded by them for Ganeshotsav. After facing humiliation, the workers quit their job, while some of them left for their home state.
The incident happened on August 15, when members of the Ganesh mandal approached the staff of Crown Bakers, on the Bhosari-Alandi Road in Pimpri-Chinchwad, and demanded ‘Ganpati vargani’ (donation for Ganesh festival). According to police, the mandal workers demanded vargani of Rs 100, but the workers said they would pay only Rs 50. The mandal members then allegedly threatened them and made them do sit-ups on the busy road.
According to a report of the Indian Express, the Mandal members shot the video of the public humiliation of Muslim workers and shared it with their friends to make it viral. After the video went viral, some of the workers involved left for Uttar Pradesh. The other youths are not reporting for work out of fear. “We have booked three members of the Ganesh mandal, but have not arrested them. The offence is bailable. A notice has been issued to the three to be present in court on Monday to secure bail,” Assistant Police Inspector Mahesh Swamy was quoted as saying.
“It seemed the bakery workers and mandal members had some dispute over Ganpati donations, after which the bakery workers were asked to do sit-ups. The mandal workers erred in making a video and sharing it,” said Shivaji Shinde, who has let out his premises on rent to Crown Bakers. However the Crown Bakery owner said that the matter has ended and he did not want to prolong the issue.