Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya on Sunday accused the Shiv Sena government of trying to kill him a day after he was allegedly assaulted by the party’s workers outside the Khar police station in Mumbai, The Indian Express reported.
On Saturday, the Mumbai Police had arrested Independent Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband, MLA Ravi Rana, after they had said they would recite the Hanuman Chalisa in front of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home. The statement had angered Shiv Sena workers, who surrounded the couple’s house and demanded an apology.
Hours after the couple cancelled their plan, the police arrested them for promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
Later in the evening, Somaiya visited the Khar police station to meet the legislators when he was allegedly attacked by Shiv Sena workers. They reportedly threw stones, footwear and water bottles at the BJP leader’s car while he was leaving.
Somaiya shared a video of him sitting inside car with blood trickling down his chin. “I am shocked, in presence 50 police persons, in the compound/campus of Khar Police Station, Shiv Sena’s 100 gundas [goons] assault me with stones, wanted to kill me,” he wrote in a tweet.
At a press conference on Sunday, Somaiya told reporters that the Mumbai Police have filed a first information report against his driver instead of booking the real perpetrators.
However, former Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, who was at the Khar police station at the time of Somaiya’s visit, told the police that the BJP leader’s car had tried to run over the Shiv Sena workers, The Indian Express reported. Based on this, a case was filed against his driver for rash and negligent driving.
The BJP leader refused to take a copy of the FIR, saying that he is not satisfied with the sections under which the case had been filed, an unidentified police official from the Bandra police station told PTI.
“I had informed the police station in the evening that I would come at midnight,” Somaiya said at the briefing. “I was insulted on arrival [by Sena workers]. Attempts were made to stop my car. On my way back, I told the police that a mob of Sena workers was going to attack me.”
He added: “But the police said the way had been cleared. But as soon as the door of the police station opened, Uddhav Thackeray’s police committed the sin of handing over my vehicles to 70-80 goons outside.”
Somaiya accused Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey of registering “a bogus FIR” to downplay the seriousness of the matter. He demanded that Pandey be replaced immediately from his post.
The BJP leader also claimed that he will meet Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in connection with the case, PTI reported.
Somaiya also claimed that Saturday’s incident was the third time the Uddhav Thackeray government has tried to kill him. Similar incidents have occurred in Washim and Pune too, he alleged.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also said he will inform the Union home secretary against the Mumbai Police’s “failure” to protect Somaiya, who has Z category security cover. A person with Z category protection is provided proximate security cover by armed commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force.
Addressing reporters, the BJP leader said that residents of Maharashtra want President’s rule imposed in the state. “The BJP will not demand it as we are ready to fight back in any situation,” he said. “It is the governor’s prerogative to seek the President’s rule.”
He added that the Mumbai Police’s current performance record is highly embarrassing. “Either the Mumbai Police indirectly supported the act [of attack on Somaiya’s car] or they have become inefficient to take any step against the attackers,” he said.
Fadnavis also castigated the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for the arrest of Ranas. Despite the sections under which they had been charged being bailable, Rana, a woman, was deliberately kept in jail as she dared to challenge the Shiv Sena government, he claimed.