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Koshyari, Thackeray locked in letter war over Sakinaka rape case

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) are engaged in a letter tussle over the Sakinaka rape and death case with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray telling Koshyari his move to join the opposition in demanding a special session of the state legislature to discuss the incident is “lethal for parliamentary democracy”.
Earlier this week, Koshyari had requested Thackeray in a letter to consider the demand of BJP’s women legislators for a special session to discuss the issue of women security, against the backdrop of the Sakinana case. (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Sep 21, 2021 11:46 PM IST
By Faisal Malik, Mumbai

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) are engaged in a letter tussle over the Sakinaka rape and death case with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray telling Koshyari his move to join the opposition in demanding a special session of the state legislature to discuss the incident is “lethal for parliamentary democracy”.

Earlier this week, Koshyari had requested Thackeray in a letter to consider the demand of BJP’s women legislators for a special session to discuss the issue of women security, against the backdrop of the Sakinaka case. In response, Thackeray wrote back to Koshyari, saying that since violence against women was a national issue, the latter should request Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah to call a four-day special session of the Parliament to discuss the same.

A week ago, a delegation of BJP women legislators met Koshyari and urged him to direct the state government to convene a two-day special session of the state legislature to discuss violence against women. Following this, Koshyari wrote a letter to the chief minister and said that he could consider the demand.

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Thackeray responded with a strongly-worded four-page letter and referred to the cases of rape and murder of women in BJP-ruled states such as Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir (a Union territory) and said that the issue was not only limited to Sakinaka. In the letter sent to Koshyari on Monday, Thackeray also pointed out that the government and Mumbai Police acted swiftly in the case and the culprits were arrested soon after the incident.

“As the governor you have expressed concern over violence against women in the backdrop of Sakinaka case. We are also concerned about the same. But the matter is not limited only to Sakinaka, in fact it is a nationwide problem and hence the entire women community is looking at you with big hope. Thus, I want you to demand from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah to call a four-day special session of the Parliament to discuss it in detail. Sakinaka case can also be discussed during the same session,” stated Thackeray in his letter.

“In the Delhi incident, not only the culprits killed the victim, they even burnt her body. The incident happened in the national capital where entire union ministry sits,” Thackeray wrote in the letter.

He also pointed out that Mumbai Police had acted swiftly and arrested the suspects in no time. “I have directed that the case will be tried in a fast track court. I have also strictly directed the police to give utmost priority to women security and take all the necessary steps…Government is doing its job hence your directive to convene a special session to discuss the issue can create a new controversy. Honorable Governor’s support to the demand made by those who are against the government can be lethal for parliamentary democracy,” he added.

Koshyari and the MVA have been locked in a bitter tussle for quite some time.

Last year, Koshyari wrote to the chief minister about reopening places of worship in the state amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and asked if Thackeray, who is also the president of the ruling Shiv Sena, had “suddenly turned secular”. Thackeray also reminded the governor that secularism was one of tenets of the Constitution that he swore upon while taking oath as Maharashtra governor.

The governor is yet to clear the 12 names approved by the state cabinet in November last year to be appointed as the members of the legislative council. Every six years, 12 members are nominated to the upper house of the state legislature by the governor on the recommendation of the state government.

Koshyari was a senior BJP leader before his appointment as governor. He was also chief minister of Uttarakhand.

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