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A Short, Incomplete History of Maharashtra Since 2019

24/05/2022 at 7:05 AM

Sutanu Guru

Executive Director, C Voter Research Foundation

It is easy and convenient to apportion blame while lamenting the erosion of democracy in India. But are we even trying to do it honestly ?

I have often written on how global think tanks and busy bodies have been shouting from rooftops that democracy is being eroded in India because dissent and criticism is being stifled and silenced through the unjust use of state organs like the police. I can understand the ignorance cum arrogance of western critics. But why and how do Indian commentators fail to point out the democracy deficit in India is the cumulative effect of state governments along with the central government. And that the police in a state reports de facto to the chief minister and not the prime minister. Without making any comments or passing any judgements, here is an incomplete list of what happened in Maharashtra since late 2019 the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena formed the MVA government with Uddhav Thackeray as chief minister. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions:

  • Two Sadhus were lynched by a mob in the presence of police in Palghar near Mumbai. Almost all the accused are out on bail.
  • Tycoons Kapil & Dheeraj Wadhawan, accused in the DHFL and Yes Bank, were exempted from the total lockdown in April,2020 and allowed to travel with servants and cooks.
  • An IPS officer from Bihar flew down to Mumbai to investigate the alleged suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput. Far from cooperating, the cops and municipal officials in Mumbai forcibly quarantined the IPS officer.
  • A retired Indian Navy personnel criticised the MVA government. Shiv Sena goons went to his housing society and mercilessly thrashed him. They were arrested and given bail in double quick time. Dozens of such cases have been reported from Maharashtra since then with the victims getting no justice.
  • Actress Kangana Ranaut got into a spat with the Shiv Sena and the state government. Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut publicly called her a “haramkhor”. The Bombay Municipal Corporation controlled by the Shiv Sena sent a notice to Kangana Ranaut saying she had carried out “illegal” constructions in her suburban home plus office. Without giving her adequate time, and  despite her lawyer obtaining an interim stay, her office was demolished. Subsequently, the Bombay High Court passed severe strictures against the Shiv Sena controlled BMC and ordered it to pay compensation.
  • Journalist and anchor Arnab Goswami became a fierce critic of the MVA government after the alleged suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput and the Kangana Ranaut controversy. An old case of abetment to suicide against him was revived. In October, 2020, the then Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh himself called a press conference to allege that Arnab and his channel Republic were “guilty” of TRP manipulation. The cop investigating the case was a certain Sachin Vaze.
  • Arnab was eventually arrested on abetment to suicide charges by Sachin Vaze and spent many days in jail before the Supreme Court gave him bail. The cop who arrested him, Sachin Vaze is now in jail, accused of terrorism, extortion and murder. When his “ deeds” were  exposed, the MVA government removed Parambir Singh as Commissioner. The later promptly accused the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of running an extortion racket with associates and “henchman” Vaze.Parambir Singh went “absconding” for many months and Anil Deshmukh is behind bars and not getting bail despite repeated efforts.
  • Another Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik had suggested to some media persons in 2020 that Arnab could be driven to suicide. The minister is now behind bars, accused of money laundering and hobnobbing with associates of the terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.
  • In July,2021, there was a fracas in the Maharashtra assembly where BJPMLAs were staging a protest. The speaker suspended 12 BJP MLAs for one whole year. In January,2022, the Supreme Court called the suspension “unconstitutional and arbitrary” and restored the full membership of the BJP MLAs.
  • In April, 2022, the loudspeaker controversy was raging in Maharashtra. It is still raging. Independent Lok Sabha MP Navneet Rana and her MLA husband Ravi Rana announced that they will chant the Hanuman Chalisa outside the residence of Uddhav Thackeray. Sanjay Raut publicly stated that those threatening the Shiv Sena will be buried 20 feet under the ground. The Maharashtra Police arrested the couple and slapped sedition charges against them. Both ofthem had to spend about two weeks in jail before a special judge gave them bail clearly stating there seemed to be no prima facie evidence of sedition. Hundreds of Shiv Sena “workers” had thrown stones at the residence of the Ranas and also assaulted a BJP leader Kirit Somaiya who is not a favourite of Uddhav Thackeray. Some were arrested and promptly released on bail.
  • Just a few days ago, some people in Maharashtra criticised the Boss and patriarch of the MVA regime Sharad Pawar. One of then was a 21 year old student who was promptly arrested and denied bail. Another was well known Marathi artiste Ketaki who was not only arrested and denied bail but also attacked with eggs and chappals as she was being taken to the court. Till the time of writing this, she remains in jail.

What I find most interesting is how the “liberal”media in India prefers to ignore this short, incomplete history of Maharashtra.

About the Author:

After his masters degree in economics, Sutanu Guru has been a journalist for more than 30 years in media outlets like Times of India, Economic Times, Business Today, Business World, Business India & others. Currently, he focuses more on research and writing.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com

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