After Amravati MP Navneet Rana complained to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that she had been subjected to “inhuman treatment” at Mumbai’s Khar police station, the city police commissioner on Tuesday shared a video of the legislator drinking tea in custody.
“Do we say anything more,” Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey wrote on Twitter.
The MP and her husband Ravi Rana, who is an independent MLA, were arrested by the Mumbai Police on April 23 for threatening to chant the Hanuman Chalisa – a hymn dedicated to Hindu deity Hanuman – in front of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home.
Even though the couple did not go ahead with their plan, the police arrested them and filed two first information reports on charges of sedition, promoting enmity and assaulting a public servant to prevent discharge of duty. They have been remanded to judicial custody for 14 days.
In a letter to Om Birla, Navneet Rana had alleged that she had been denied water in police custody because she was a Dalit. However, the video posted by Pandey on Tuesday showed bottles of mineral water kept in front of the couple.
“To my shock and disbelief, the police staff present told me that I belong to Schedule[d] Caste and hence they will not give me water in the same glass,” the MP alleged, The Indian Express reported. “I was told ‘neechi jaat ke logon ko paani nahi dete’ [we do not give water to lower castes].”
Notably, the Bombay High Court had cancelled the caste certificate issued to Rana last year, saying that she had got it fraudulently by using fabricated documents. Her appeal against the order in the Supreme Court is pending.
In her letter to Birla, Rana also accused the police of abusing her with “the most filthy language” because of her caste. She added that the officers paid no heed to her demands when she wanted to use the bathroom at the night.
“I emphatically state that I have reason to believe that the police action against me and my husband is only on the directions of the Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Thackeray,” Rana wrote, according to PTI. “Under the circumstances, I am forwarding this representation to you as the guardian and custodian of the dignity of the Lok Sabha and its members to kindly look into the matter.”
The legislator also defended her decision to chant the Hanuman Chalisa, saying that it was her “sincere hope to rekindle the flame of Hindutva in the Shiv Sena”. Her decision, she added, was not meant to incite religious tensions or target the chief minister.
“However, looking at the fact that her actions may prove detrimental to the law and order situation in Mumbai, she had publicly withdrawn from the said exercise,” the letter read.
Rana demanded strict action against Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey and other senior officers for arresting her.
Birla on Monday had asked the Maharashtra government to provide details about Rana’s arrest within 24 hours.