A Thane-based civil engineer was allegedly beaten up by 10-15 men associated with the state housing minister, Jitendra Awhad, for posting a morphed photograph of the NCP leader on social media, police said. An FIR has been registered against “unidentified persons” under several IPC sections for abduction, causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, rioting and intimidation in the matter at Thane police station.
In a statement to the police, complainant Anant Karmuse (40) said he had uploaded a morphed photograph of the minister on Facebook, mocking him in connection Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to light candles at 9 pm on Sunday to mark the battle against coronavirus.
Karmuse told police that at 11.50 pm Sunday, four persons, including two men dressed in police uniform, came to his residence at Anand Nagar area of Ghodbunder Road in Thane. The “policemen” told him to accompany them to the police station, he said. Instead of taking him to any police station, Karmuse said, they took him to Awhad’s bungalow behind Viviana Mall in Thane in a white-coloured Scorpio. Another vehicle with six people had accompanied the car, he added.
“At the bungalow, there were around 10 men waiting. In all, around 15 -20 men started beating me up with the fibre batons of the police. When the batons broke, they used bamboos, iron pipes and belts to beat me all over. One of them was saying, I should not be kept alive. The ‘policemen’ kept saying I should not be beaten on the face as it will leave marks,” Karmuse said in his complaint.
He added, “Then, Awhad appeared at the door and asked me why I had put up such a post. I apologised and said I got carried away. I said I will delete the post and used the mobile phone of one of the men to call up my wife and asked her to delete the post.”
Karmuse said as he was feeling unwell, the men allowed him to sit, gave him water and later took him a hospital in a police van. He was also taken to Vartak Nagar police station, where his statement was recorded and an FIR registered. As photographs of Karmuse’s bruises went viral, Awhad tweeted the photograph that had been uploaded by him saying, “do u support this pervert. Will u tolerate if this is done against u or ur family members. I don’t support lawlessness.”
Awhad told The Indian Express that he did not know anything about anyone being beaten. “However, this person has been putting up obscene memes and photos of leaders of my party and family members for the past two years. This is a classic case of someone abusing freedom of speech,” Awhad said.
When contacted, Karmuse said, “I apologised for posting that photograph.”
Fadnavis seeks Awadh’s removal
Mumbai: Former Chief Minister and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday demanded the removal of Housing Minister Jitendra Awadh over for his high handedness in connection with the beating up of an engineer.
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