Suspected Shiv Sena workers beat up a 62-year-old retired Navy officer in Mumbai on Friday, for forwarding a cartoon of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on WhatsApp, PTI reported. The incident took place around 11.30 am in Lokhandwala Complex area in suburban Kandivali, a police officer said.
“Retired Navy officer Madan Sharma had forwarded a cartoon on Thackeray on a WhatsApp group,” the officer said. Some Sena workers went to his house and beat him up. Sharma sustained an eye injury and is being treated at hospital.” A case has been registered under Indian Penal Code sections related to causing grievous injury and rioting, the police officer added.
Footage of the incident shared on social media shows a group of men thrashing another person. He is seen walking to the main gate of his apartment building and after a few moments, running back inside with the men chasing him. After a while, they drag him by his shirt and punch him.
Former Maharashtra chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis condemned the incident and demanded action against the goons. “Extremely sad and shocking incident,” he tweeted. “Retired Naval Officer got beaten up by goons because of just a whatsApp forward. Please stop this GundaRaj Uddhav Thackeray ji. We demand strong action and punishment to these goons.” He also shared a photo of Sharma’s injured eye.
Sharma told Times Now that he had merely shared a cartoon on WhatsApp. He said that initially, the police wanted to arrest him following his own complaint.
“Eight to 10 persons attacked and beat me up today, after I received threatening calls for a message that I had forwarded,” Sharma told the media, according to ANI. “I have worked for the nation my entire life. A government like this should not exist.” He said it was BJP leader Atul Bhatkhalkar who helped him file the complaint.
Sharma said in the first information report that he received a call from a person called Kamlesh Kadam, who asked his name and address, NDTV reported. In the afternoon, he was called outside his building and attacked by a mob.