NCP MLA Awhad, out on bail, resigns over 'false cases'
Former Maharashtra minister and a legislator from Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Jitendra Awhad, on Monday announced he is resigning from his MLA post. Out on bail, Ahwad claimed "two false cases" were registered against him in 72 hours and that is why he is stepping down. Last week, he was arrested for disrupting a theatrical screening of the Marathi movie Har Har Mahadev.
Ahwad announces resignation on Twitter
Taking to Twitter, the former Maharashtra minister on Monday called out the "fake cases" against him and wrote in Marathi, "The police have filed two fake cases against me in the last 72 hours, and that too under Section 354 of the IPC." Terming this a "murder of democracy," Ahwad said that he will continue his fight against injustice and police brutality.
'I will fight against this police brutality'
पोलीसांनी माझ्या विरुद्ध ७२ तासात २ खोटा गुन्हा दाखल केला आणि तोही 😭३५४ ,.,— Dr.Jitendra Awhad (@Awhadspeaks) November 14, 2022
मी ह्या पोलिसी आत्याचारा विरुद्ध लढणार … मी माझ्या आमदारकीचा राजीनामा देण्याचा निर्णय घेतो आहे,,. लोकशाहीची हत्या .. उघड्या डोळ्यांनी नाही बघू शकत
Ahwad booked for pushing woman in Thane
Ahwad's decision to resign as the NCP's Mumbra-Kalwa MLA on Monday came after he was booked by the Maharashtra Police for allegedly pushing a woman ahead of a bridge inauguration in Thane on Sunday. He was charged under IPC Section 354 (assault or use of criminal force intending to outrage modesty), said reports.
FIR against Ahwad and his followers
A first information report (FIR) was filed on Tuesday (November 8) against Ahwad and 100 other NCP workers for stopping the movie screening forcibly at a Thane multiplex and assaulting moviegoers on November 7. He and his followers, however, claimed the movie "distorted the Maratha history and such movies would not be allowed to be released in the state," as per The Hindu.
Assaulting moviegoers would not be tolerated: Fadnavis
Meanwhile, a day after the multiplex incident, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday stated that assaulting moviegoers would not be tolerated. He had assured that action would be taken against individuals involved in such incidents. "People are permitted to register their opposition democratically. I have not seen the movie and I am not aware of the controversy," Fadnavis said.
Details on Ahwad's arrest
Ahwad was arrested on Friday for disrupting the screening last Monday but was released on bail on Saturday. He was charged under IPC Sections 323 (assault) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace). Ahwad, however, claimed he saved a man being manhandled at the multiplex. He alleged his arrest order came from "higher authorities," referring to CM Eknath Shinde-led government.
Protests in support of Ahwad
On Friday, many NCP supporters and Ahwad's wife, Ruta Awhad, protested outside a Thane police station and called his arrest a political vendetta. Later that day, party workers protested on the Mumbra bypass road. Furthermore, nearly 12 women protesters were detained by the police, while the NCP workers from Bhiwandi also staged a demonstration in front of the deputy commissioner of police's office.
Shinde denies political motives behind arrest
Moreover, NCP leader and MP Supriya Sule accused the cops of being under "pressure from above." Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader, Aaditya Thackeray, also criticized the Maharashtra government, saying, "Awhad has done the right thing. We are ready to go to jail with him." However, CM Shinde denied any political motives behind the arrest and urged the police to act as per law.
NCP leader defends his actions
While speaking to the media after his release on Saturday, Ahwad defended his actions at the Thane multiplex by stating that ruining history will only give a wrong message to the younger generations. "This has not only defamed the Maratha king but also tarnished the state's image and it will not be tolerated," he was quoted as saying by PTI.