Defence minister Rajnath Singh (File photo)
NEW DELHI: On the day when six Shiv Sena workers, accused of thrashing a retired 62-year-old naval officer, were released a few hours after their arrest, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday spoke to the injured officer and said such attacks are totally unacceptable and deplorable.
“Spoke to retired naval officer, Shri Madan Sharma who was attacked by hooligans in Mumbai and enquired about his health. Such attacks on Ex-Servicemen are completely unacceptable and deplorable. I wish Madanji a speedy recovery,” Singh tweeted on Saturday.
Defence minister was among several BJP and NDA leaders who joined the countrywide outrage over the incident, calling it a ‘threat to survival of democracy’.
“Anguished at the unfortunate incident in Mumbai. A 62-year-old veteran is beaten up by goons. All servicemen feel the pain and disgust to know that a person who served was beaten up for sharing a cartoon,” said Union minister General (Retd) VK Singh as he asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to take strong action and show that he is a “leader and a nationalist”.
The ex-navy officer, identified as Madan Sharma, sustained an eye injury in the assault in suburban Kandivali, which was captured on a CCTV camera.
BJP’s national vice-president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabudhe said the Maharashtra government’s “action-inaction” is threatening the very survival of democracy in the state. “Merciless beating of a Navy veteran now and demolishing a reportedly illegal construction for vendetta yesterday! In fact, the MVA government itself is an illegal construction. Somebody’s land, someone else grabbed!” Sahasrabuddhe said, also referring to demolition of actor Kangana Ranaut’s office by Sena-run BMC.
LJP chief Chirag Paswan said the Centre should act and impose President’s Rule if similar attacks continue to take place in the state. “After targeting Kangana Ranaut, it’s unfortunate that the manner in which a retired Navy officer was beaten up. The government must pay attention to ensure that there is no atmosphere of fear among north Indians who are living in Mumbai. If such a situation continues, the Centre should impose President’s Rule in the state,” he said.
Earlier, Paswan had raised questions on the intention of the Maharashtra government and Mumbai police in investigations of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. He had also come out in full support of Kangana Ranaut.
BJP’s general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh said Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray is losing all sense of civility. “Retired Naval Officer was beaten black and blue by hoodlums at a party for a WhatsApp forward . Sadhus, women, reporters , veterans no one is safe in their rule. Highly condemnable,” he said, recalling the lynching of two Sadhus in Palghar in Maharashtra a few months ago.
Party spokesperson Sambit Patra posted the same cartoon, as shared by the retired navy officer, on twitter and urged his followers to do so. “Please tweet the cartoon in support of Sharma, who was thrashed by Sena goons for forwarding it,” Patra tweeted.