Mayor accused of manhandling woman during protest in Santacruz
Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar courted controversy after he purportedly manhandled a woman protesting against the electrocution deaths in Santacruz earlier this week.
A video of the incident is now viral on social media. In the video, the Mayor can be seen being heckled by some locals in Santacruz who were upset over water-logging caused by heavy rains on August 4.
The locals of Golibar road area were protesting the death of Mala Nigam (53) and her son Sanket Nigam (23), both of whom were electrocuted in their house in Jai Bharat Society on Sunday.
Immediately after their deaths, hundreds of locals blocked the Western Express Highway to draw attention to the civic body’s apathy and demand against the concerned officials. The crowd was later cleared by the police.
In a separate protest on Monday, during which the said video was taken, a woman can be heard questioning Mahadeshwar on why he or any other officer was not around when the people required their help.
The Mayor responds by saying that he was visiting a hospital. As the heated exchange continues, another woman asks him something.
In response, a visibly angry Mahadeshwar resorts to twisting her hand and saying in Marathi, “Don’t try to be smart with me; you don’t know who I am”.
The Mayor’s actions drew sharp criticism from netizens and opposition parties.
Terming the incident as “arrogance of power”, state unit Congress working president Yashomati Thakur demanded a case of molestation be registered against the Mayor.
“Mahadeshwar threatening a woman has evoked anger. It shows the power has made him arrogant. A case of molestation should be registered against him,” she said.
Mahadeshwar, meanwhile, denied that he manhandled anybody and rather blamed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers for the incident.
“The women MNS workers tried to block our way with their hands. Our workers turned their hands away and we left. We didn’t molest anyone, twist anybody’s hand or commit any wrong,” he said.
“There are people who deliberately make such allegations…I just asked them not to act smart,” he added.
As of Wednesday, no police complaint has been registered in the matter. Even Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party the Mayor belongs to, is yet to take any action against the city’s first citizen.