Angered over the attack on retired Navy officer Madan Sharma, who was beaten up by Shiv Sena goons on September 11, a group of retired armed forces veterans protested in Delhi on Monday. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, a large gathering was prohibited but their anger against the Shiv Sena was evident. Speaking to Republic TV, a former Army officer condemned the attack by Shiv Sena and demanded that President's rule should be imposed in a state where such incidents occur.
"We are former soldiers. We have retired respectfully after serving our country in harsh conditions like extremely cold weather where the body freezes and extreme heat. We want to live respectfully. A few Shiv Sena goons insulted Madan Sharma and thrashed him. We stand by our fellow officer and we demand that a state in which such incidents happen, the government has to be dismissed and President's rule should be imposed there," retired army personnel said.
On Sunday, Madan Sharma hit out at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray stating that he should "resign" if he is unable to run the government. "I request Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Ji that if you cannot run the government, then you should resign. Let people elect a government that can maintain law and order in Maharashtra," he said while speaking to media.
The retired Navy officer, Madan Sharma (66), was attacked in suburban Kandivali on Friday for allegedly forwarding a cartoon lampooning Maharashtra Chief Minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on social media.
Meanwhile, a group of armed forces veterans on Sunday expressed their shock at the attack and said that the fact the accused have been given bail has "added insult to injury".
"It is unbelievable that the Mumbai police investigation, as well as the Maharashtra government prosecutors, took this serious matter so casually that there has not been even a semblance of justice in this case," they said in a statement.
"Unequivocally" condemning the manhandling of Navy veteran Madan Sharma by Shiv Sena activists, they said justice has been denied in an "organised conspiracy to attack and degrade armed forces veterans and their families by clearly playing softly upon the criminals on account of their political affiliations".
Over 600 military veterans have signed their statement, and they included Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik (retd), Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha (retd), Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh (retd) and Air Marshall S P Singh (retd).
Shiv Sena leader Kamlesh Kadam and five others were arrested by the Mumbai police after an FIR was registered in connection with alleged assault of retired Navy officer in Mumbai. They were later released on bail.
(With agency inputs)