Bhushan Sankhe, Palghar’s Shiv Sena Shahar Pramukh (president), who filed the complaint against the two girls following Facebook post sought to distance himself from the violence at the hospital owned by one of the girl’s uncle and claimed that those arrested were not Shiv Sainiks.
"None of the 10 persons arrested by the police is Shiv Sainik," Sankhe claimed while speaking to HT. "You can see, five of them are Muslims," he added.
When reminded that Muslims constitute a sizeable chunk of Shiv Sainiks in Palghar and occupied many significant posts in the party's local hierarchy, Sankhe said," here you are. You media people don't understand the social structure in Palghar. They (accused/vandals) are all Marathi (Manus) and they love and respect the Shiv Sena Pramukh irrespective of their background and affiliation. Their reaction was spontaneous," Sankhe said. "Have you seen that post on Facebook? I am sure you would have reacted too."
Interestingly, Sankhe helped the accused in getting bail (arranging lawyers and standing by them). "As I told you that every Marathi is a Shiv Sainik, it is my duty in helping them bail out," he maintained.
He claimed that the media was on a witch hunting of the Sena rather than highlighting the root cause.
"You (media) all are silent on what that girl has done. She is no innocent. She has done her MBA degree and grown up enough to understand what is right and what is wrong and that her words are bound to hurt people who look upon Balasaheb as their supreme leader. No one (media) finds fault in that," said Sankhe.
"The matter could have ended if she had apologised. However, she refused to do so till 11 pm (on Sunday) and hence I lodged a police complaint against her."
Sankhe however claimed that he did not have any role in the violence.
"We Shiv Sena leaders from Palghar, big or small, and Sainiks had gone to Shivaji Park to attend Saheb's (Thackeray’s) funeral. While I was on my way back to Palghar, I learnt about the Facebook message and subsequent developments," he claimed.
He however, made it clear that he has no intention to drag the matter further. "Now that the girl and her family have apologised, we will not take the matter any further. The matter is in the court and we will fight it out there," he added.
On Tuesday afternoon when the bail applications of the 10 accused arrested in connection with Sunday night's vandalism at a hospital were moved as many as 14 lawyers jostled amongst themselves for appearance and two Vakalatnamas were filed.
"I have never seen such a bizzare thing at the court during my 30 years service here," exclaimed Varun Walawalkar, who works as a notary/reader at the court. "This is perhaps the first time that the number of lawyers appearing are more than the accused," he said.
Lawyer Vijay Sankhe who teamed up with fellow advocate Santosh Yadav for securing bail for Usman Khan, one of the accused, said that more than professional call, it was their old relation with Khan that made them appear for his bail.
"We know Khan, who works as a fabricator, since long. We see him everyday while coming to the court since his place of work is beside the road we take. How can we miss him tomorrow?" they asked.
Similarly, Taqui Chikalkar, who had filed a Vaqkalatnama for four of the accused, claimed that he engaged himself for his neighbourhood boys who have nothing to do with the violence. "They are all local boys and known to me," he said.
Quite expectedly, the legal service was offered for the accused by one and all without any remuneration.
Police have been ordered to look into all the aspects pertaining to the registration of the FIR agaisnt the two girls.
Deven Bharti, inspector general of police (IGP) (Law and Order) told HT that the inquiry is being done by IGP (Konkan range) Sukhwinder Singh and he would look into the fact as to why the two girls were arrested in the first place and did the Facebook content they posted, attract the provisions of the Information Technology Act and the sections of the
Indian Penal Code (IPC) which have been applied against the girls.
He added the circumstances which led to the FIR – how, what and why was the case lodged by the local police, will also be inquired into.
Officials in the DGP office also indicated that they were checking if the FIR was registered under pressure. Sources said if the officials were found to be wrong, then they were likely to face action from the state government.
Officials said all the officials of the Thane rural police who are involved in the case, which includes the superintendent of police (SP) (Thane Rural), additional SP, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Palghar and the officials of the Palghar police station who registered the FIR, along with the two girls who were arrested would be spoken to before preparing the report.
The report will soon be submitted to the director general of police.