In yet another case of alleged abuse of power by a politician, Dahisar corporator Sheetal Mhatre was caught on camera slapping and roughing up two people last month for protesting her decision to remove a garbage bin in her ward to make way for a container cabin.
In the video, Mhatre is seen slapping one of the men and grabbing another by the collar
What makes the incident even more shocking is that Mhatre hails from the Congress, a party which espouses the Gandhian philosophy and does everything it can to claim Mahatma Gandhi as its own icon. She is also the MLA candidate for the party from the Dahisar assembly constituency.
In the video, Dahisar corporator Sheetal Mhatre can be seen slapping one person and grabbing another by the collar
The camera feed of the incident clearly shows Mhatre (in green dress) and her party workers having an argument with a few people opposed to the removal of a garbage bin.
People can be heard telling Mhatre and others that they would have no place to throw their garbage if the bin was removed. Mhatre can then be seen holding a person by the collar and slapping another.
When mid-day went to the Shantinagar Dongri area in Dahisar East, where the incident took place, no local resident was willing to come on record fearing the repercussions of speaking out against a corporator. Off the record, however, residents said they feared for what would become of democracy if such acts were allowed to continue.
“Some of the locals were opposing the removal of a garbage bin opposite a toilet on the south-bound stretch of SV Road, as they would have no place to dispose of their garbage if the bin was removed.
However, the corporator wanted to install a container, which was meant to house a library, just a few metres away from the bin, which is why she wanted it gone. When people opposed the move, she slapped one of the protesters and grabbed him and another person by the collar,” said a resident.
“If public representatives behave in such a way, then people will lose faith in democracy. We have been targeting Shiv Sena and MNS leaders for indulging in such hooliganism, but if Congress leaders also start walking on the same path, we don’t know what will happen to this city,” he added.
Inspector Raje Shirke from Dahisar police station said, "The incident occurred in the last week of August and the Congress coporator registered a complaint with us after which we registered an FIR against Sujit Kangda, Shankar Rathod and Ganesh Sonawane under IPC sections relating to breach of the peace and criminal intimidation. A complaint was not registered against the corporator because no one came forward to complain."
The other side
“The person in question is a nuisance creator from the area and he was trying to oppose the removal of the garbage bin from the place where we wanted to put up a cabin. When BMC officials and I went to remove the garbage bin, he started abusing us, and the other people who were with him even pelted stones at us.
One of the stones missed me narrowly and I would have suffered severe injury had it hit me. “When this happened, I went towards him and grabbed him by the shirt in the heat of the moment. I handed him over to the local police station and an FIR has been registered against him,” Mhatre told mid-day.
She added that she had taken the necessary permissions to remove the bin and had a work order to set up the cabin. Due to the opposition from the locals, however, the garbage bin was allowed to remain where it was, and it will be removed at a later stage.
“Mhatre and others had an official work order to remove the garbage bin and set up the container cabin, which was meant to house a library. Beyond that, whatever happened is the internal matter of the corporator and the residents of the area and I don’t want to comment on that,” said Santosh Kumar Dhonde, ward officer (R-North).