Bandra East MLA Prakash Bala Sawant has been booked for threatening to strip and thrash an elderly woman, because of the disagreements he had with her over the redevelopment of their society; hundreds of Sena workers protested at Kherwadi police station after the FIR was filed
|Sawant (64) and the woman are both residents of Gandhi Nagar Society in Kherwadi, Bandra (East)|
For all their talk about the need for making women feel safe and safeguarding women’s rights, comments made by politicians and their behaviour in public has, time and again, exposed their true colours.
Following in the far-from-hallowed footsteps of netas such as Mulayam Singh Yadav, Abu Azmi and Tapas Pal (see box), Shiv Sena’s Bandra (East) MLA Prakash Bala Sawant allegedly said to a woman in her 50s, “I will strip you in front of everyone and beat you up”.
The woman and Bala have been sparring over the redevelopment of the Bandra housing society they reside in, but this outburst allegedly came without provocation.
Sawant (64) and the woman are both residents of Gandhi Nagar Society in Kherwadi, Bandra (East). Senior police officials of the Kherwadi police station, where an FIR was filed by the woman, said the incident took place around 8 pm on Monday.
According to the woman’s statement in the FIR, she had got down from a bus and was heading home when Sawant abused her because of the previous animosity between them.
“I will strip you in front of everyone and beat you up,” Sawant allegedly told her. This prompted an argument, after which the woman rushed to the Kherwadi police to file a complaint.
High drama followed at the police station after the complaint was filed and Sawant was called in for his statement. When news of the FIR spread, hundreds of Sena supporters descended on the police station to agitate. A large contingent of police officers had to be called in to control the crowd, which they did with much difficulty.
The cops said there are a total of 36 Housing Board buildings in Gandhi Nagar Society. The redevelopment process has been on for several years and has led to the formation of several groups. Both the woman and Sawant are committee members and have had several disagreements about which builder should be selected for the redevelopment.
The victim told cops that the disagreements do not, however, give anyone the right to insult and use such language against a woman.
She said the fact that the statement was made publicly and by an MLA, no less, only made it worse.
Booked: An FIR was filed by the woman after the incident that took place around 8 pm on Monday. File Pic
“Based on complaint of the woman, who is in her 50s, we have registered a case against Sawant under Sections 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of trust), 506 (Criminal intimidation) and 509 (Act intended to insult modesty of a woman) of the IPC. We have taken an FIR and the statements of the complainant and Sawant are being recorded. Only after proper investigation will we consider making an arrest.”
The other side
When mid-day went to Sawant’s house, the MLA wasn’t present. Sawant’s sister spoke to us and said that he could never do such a thing. “My brother has great respect for women and I know this best because I am his sister. He can never use such language against a woman. Sawant had gone to talk to four people who are opposed to the redevelopment near Agarwal Clinic yesterday (Monday) and the woman was present there. He must have said something to those four people and the woman must have thought it was directed at her. Sawant is well respected in the area and he helps people. All the allegations made by the woman are false, he can never say such things to a woman.”
>> A tape surfaced recently in which Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal can be heard saying that he would shoot CPM workers and let “loose my boys to rape their women” if they dared to touch TMC supporters. (Read more in Nation P18)
>> In April, after the accused in the Shakti Mills rape case were sentenced to death, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav opposed capital punishment for rape, saying “ladke, ladke hain… galti ho jati hai (boys will be boys… they commit mistakes).
>> Addressing a rally in Moradabad, he had said, “Ladkiyan pehle dosti karti hain. Ladke-ladki mein matbhed ho jata hai. Matbhed hone key baad usey rape ka naam dey deti hain. Ladko sey galti ho jati hai. Kya rape case mein phasi di jayegi? (First girls develop friendship with boys. Then, when differences occur, they level rape charges. Boys commit mistakes. Will they be hanged for rape?)
>> Soon after these comments, SP leader Abu Azmi, while speaking to mid-day, had said that rape victims should also be hanged. He had said that any woman who has sex outside marriage should be hanged, including rape victims.