Six accused, including a Shiv Sena leader, arrested for assaulting a retired Navy officer in Mumbai were given bail on Saturday, a day after the incident occurred, reported NDTV. The 62-year-old retired Navy officer, Madan Sharma, was thrashed on Friday after suspected Shiv Sena workers beat him up for forwarding a cartoon of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on WhatsApp.
The six accused, including Shiv Sena leader Kamlesh Kadam, were arrested after a case was registered. However, they were released on the basis of a Supreme Court order that bestows the power on police stations to let off an accused on bail in cases where the maximum penalty is seven years or under.
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.
Sharma said in the first information report that he received a call from a person called Kamlesh Kadam, who asked his name and address. In the afternoon, he was called outside his building and attacked by a mob.
“We don’t know how the photo reached the Shiv Sena,” said Dr Sheela Sharma, the daughter of the former Navy officer. “We want strict action. The accused should not have got bail in this way. Police personnel had come to our house and spoke of a probe on us. I oppose this bail.”
His son, Sunny Sharma, said that the family was not satisfied with the arrests, adding that they do not feel safe in Maharashtra, reported India Today.
The cartoon forwarded by Madan Sharma showed Thackeray prostrating before pictures of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, according to The Indian Express.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pravin Darekar met the Navy officer at the hospital. “This is another face of Shiv Sena,” he told NDTV. “They got bail because of Shiv Sena.”
Many BJP leaders, including former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, had posted a photo of the retired Navy officer’s injured eye. “Extremely sad and shocking incident,” he tweeted. “Retired Naval officer got beaten up by goons because of just a WhatsApp forward. Please stop this gunda raj [hooliganism] Uddhav Thackeray ji. We demand strong action and punishment to these goons.”
Fadnavis also called the incident a “state-sponsored terror” situation, according to ANI.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he spoke to the retired officer. “Such attacks on ex-servicemen is completely unacceptable and deplorable,” he said. “I wish Madan ji a speedy recovery.”