AN advisory committee under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act has asked the Nashik Municipal Corporation to file a court case against pro-Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide, for a statement he purportedly made in a public speech saying that “eating mangoes from a certain tree had helped some couples have male child”. According to municipal officials, a notice issued to Bhide seeking explanation for his statement, was not responded to. In a speech he made in a rally in Nashik in the second week of June, Bhide (85) had allegedly made reference to a certain mango tree, the fruits of which have helped over 150 couples bear male child. The video and audio clips of the speech had been widely circulated on social media.
A complaint arguing that the statement was in violation of the PCPNDT Act was received from an activist in Pune to the office of Additional Director of state health department. Dr Jayram Kothari, Medical Officer of Health with the Nashik Municipal Corporation said, “The complaint received by the health department against Bhide was to us as the speech was delivered in Nashik. The claim that eating a mango leads to conception of male child is not only unscientific but also prima facie in violation of the law. A notice was issued to Bhide asking to explain his statement and basis on which he has made the claim. However, the notice was not responded to and has come back to us.
The committee under the PCPNDT Act prima facie found him in violation of law and has asked us to file a court case against Bhide, which we will soon do. The court will further hear the case.” Nitin Chougule of Bhide-led Shi Shiv Pratishthan said, “We have not yet received any notice nor has anyone contacted us on phone about the notice. We want to reiterate that Bhide guruji’s statement has been taken out of context. The full speech and its transcript is available for scrutiny by anyone. If the full speech is looked at, it would clear what he exactly meant, but the many are just going by the edited and out of context part.”
It may be recalled that Bhide and another Pro-Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote had been booked by Pune rural police under charges of orchestrating violence at the time 200th year celebration of battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1. While Ekbote is out on bail after spending time in custody, police have maintained that they have not found any concrete proof against Bhide.