Updated: September 25, 2021 8:17:52 am
Out on bail after being jailed for throwing ink on Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil’s nameplate, BJP corporator Asha Shendge said on Friday that she had made several written complaints to Patil regarding the “digging up” of roads in Kasarwadi during the festival season before resorting to the ink protest with her supporter on September 5.
Shendge alleged Commissioner Patil was resorting to lies by claiming she had only made “oral complaints”. She said she would complain to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) regarding the attempts made by the PCMC administration to muzzle the voices of honest tax-paying citizens by putting them in jail.
“The PCMC Commissioner told reporters that I had made oral complaints… His argument is not true. I had given 17 written complaints along with concrete proof regarding the Smart City work. He has avoided holding hearings on the corruption charges levelled by me,” she said.
Shendge along with nine others were arrested on September 5 for throwing ink on nameplates of Patil’s and another officer Ashok Bhalkar. They were first remanded to one-day police custody and then to 14 days judicial custody by a city court. Shendge, a second-time Kasarwadi corporator, and the nine others were granted bail on Monday.
Describing the arrests as a “black day”, Shendge said, “This is the first time in the history of Pimpri-Chinchwad that citizens have been arrested for protesting under Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code. Holding a protest is our democratic right granted by the Constitution. We will exercise our democratic right repeatedly. If PCMC administration has the guts, it can arrest me for holding protests. We will not stop holding protests against inconvenience caused by the inaction of the PCMC… I am ready to go to jail any number of times,” she said.
Shendge said she was not against the road work, but wanted the civic body to defer it until the end of the festival season. “I was initially promised that they will stop the digging. Even the Bombay High Court has banned digging up roads during the monsoon season. Yet the PCMC administration allowed it. We held the protest at PCMC headquarters and were subsequently arrested under Section 353 for obstructing government officials from discharging their duties. Do honest tax-paying citizens have no right to hold protest democratically?” she asked.
Shendge said she has decided to approach the ED and CBI against the corruption in smart city projects of the PCMC. “I will also approach the central government and the PMO and complain against the municipal commissioner and PCMC administration for violating the Constitution by putting protestors, including women, in jail,” she said.
Shendge also criticised her own party, the BJP. “While those accused of taking bribes are getting support from the BJP, those raising their voice against the wrongdoing of PCMC administration have not gotten support from the party. This mindset should change,” she said.
The PCMC administration said it has already denied the allegations levelled by the corporator.
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