A group administrator on WhatsApp can be a risky job, as a former city president of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Kalyan East found yesterday. The 51-year-old was assaulted by about 12 people who also blackened his face, after a picture of Cabinet minister Eknath Shinde and a woman, Shobha Gamladu, who was arrested for running a prostitution racket, was circulated on the group. Subhash Mhaske, a committee member of Kalyan-Dombivli Transport Service, maintains that he was not aware of the picture. He has registered a case with the Kolsewadi police station.
A Shiv Sena leader from Ulhasnagar, Shobha Ramesh Gamladu (40) was arrested on Friday night for running a prostitution racket. The Anti-Human Trafficking Cell of Thane Crime Branch rescued two women who were forced into the racket that was going on at Hotel Durga Palace Lodging and Boarding, Kalyan West, for the past year. A picture of Gamladu and Eknath Shinde was allegedly morphed by some locals, to depict a heart between them. It was circulated on more than 10 to 12 groups.
“At around 2 pm on Sunday, when I reached my building, around 10 to 12 people claiming to be Shiv Sena members, came and started cross questioning me about the picture. Aamchya sahebancha photo ka takto aani badnami karto? (Why have you posted a picture of our leader and defamed him?),” said Mhaske.
“I am the group admin of one WhatsApp group. The person who posted it on the group apologised later. However, many groups discussed the picture. I didn’t comment as I hadn’t seen it. The assaulters claimed I was responsible. How can I be responsible when anyone can upload a picture? After a heated argument, they started assaulting me and blackened my face with ink,” he added.
Mhaske suffered minor injuries and lodged a complaint with the Kolshewadi police. Kalyanji Ghete, senior police inspector, Kolshewadi police station, said, “We have registered the case according to the complainant’s statement. It was clear that he was assaulted as he was the admin of the WhatsApp group. The case is registered against unknown people. We are looking for CCTV footage.”