Clamour grows to nab Bhide for slur on Mahatma, FIR in Thane

Thakur, who had filed the complaint against Bhide in Amravati has now received death threats, and she has warned that if anything happens to her, "the state government will be responsible".

Mumbai: After Amravati, a fresh FIR was lodged by Thane Naupada police against Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide for his alleged derogatory remarks targeting Mahatma Gandhi, with clamour for his arrest from the Maharashtra government and the Opposition on Monday.

The ruling alliance of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-Nationalist Congress Party-Ajit Pawar, and the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Congress, Nationalist Congress Party-Sharad Pawar, have protested and flayed Bhide’s remarks with demands to book and arrest him.

Following a complaint by the NCP-Sharad Pawar leader Dr. Jitendra Awhad, the Thane police registered a FIR against Bhide, days after a similar FIR was lodged by Amravati Police on the complaint of Congress leader Yashomati Thakur.

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State Congress Working President M. Arif Naseem Khan has demanded a FIR and immediate arrest of Bhide for his remarks on the Father of the Nation “which cannot be tolerated”.

The breakaway NCP-Ajit Pawar Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Maharashtra State Commission for Women President Rupali Chakankar have also demanded prompt action against Bhide.

Manohar Kulkarni, alias Sambhji Bhide Guruji, 90, founder of Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan outfit, has made certain remarks against the Mahatma, sparking a political furore over the weekend.

Seeking to distance itself from the row and Bhide, the BJP said it would not tolerate any remarks against Gandhiji or Vinayak D. Savarkar.

Bhujbal, who is founder of Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, said Bhide’s remarks are condemnable and called upon the government to apprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi of this during his Pune visit tomorrow.

“Once he (Bhide) had met Modi but now is making such objectionable statements, the PM must be informed of this… Why is talking all this, is someone instigating him…? He must be arrested,” demanded Bhujbal to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Terming Bhide a “serial offender”, Congress ex-CM Prithviraj Chavan asked why he is not being put behind bars and raised the issue in the Assembly last weekend, while the Congress has questioned the source of funds of Bhide and his organisation.

Thakur, who had filed the complaint against Bhide in Amravati has now received death threats, and she has warned that if anything happens to her, “the state government will be responsible”.

As the protests continued around the state since the past few days, Fadnavis condemned Bhide’s utterances which have caused agony to the people and warned such comments won’t be tolerated. “I am making it clear that whether Mahatma Gandhi or Veer Savarkar, we shall not tolerate such insults… The Congress should also protest when Rahul Gandhi speaks against Veer Savarkar,” said Fadnavis.

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