Mayor cannot 'arm twist' his way into silence

Updated: Aug 21, 2019, 05:20 IST | A correspondent |

The incident occurred when the mayor visited the spot to offer condolences to the kin of a woman and her son who died after being electrocuted in the floodwater

Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar
Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar

On Tuesday, this paper carried a report about a group of women coming together to protest inaction against the Mumbai Mayor, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, for allegedly manhandling a woman. He was caught on video — which has since gone viral — twisting a woman's arm during a protest about waterlogging in Santacruz east earlier this month. The incident occurred when the mayor visited the spot to offer condolences to the kin of a woman and her son who died after being electrocuted in the floodwater.

There have been a number of protests after the video went viral asking for the mayor's resignation. The women-led protests have focussed on this being an issue about women's safety, the mindset of the man who is supposed to be the first citizen of the city, and how ordinary persons are browbeaten and bullied into staying silent. We need to hear the Shiv Sena give a statement on the issue. It cannot be buried or swept under the carpet. There seems to be complete silence in the hope that this will be forgotten or pushed aside as a small incident.

The mayor himself needs to comment, if the party is not. He has been quoted in sporadic reports saying something about the woman and others from some other parties trying to create trouble. This, though, is a poorly-worded explanation and no justification for his actions. He needs to speak out, convince the people that he is contrite, not to be judged by this and apologise to the woman, besides addressing the larger issue of women's security.

With this deafening silence, there is an attempt to wish away what happened. In this case, silence is not golden but a pathetic attempt to never bring up and so, cover up the unacceptable conduct of a person in this office. We need to hear from the mayor. Mumbai is waiting.

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