On Monday, Shiv Sena Deputy leader Priyanka Chaturvedi accused former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his wife Amruta Fadnavis of spreading misinformation. She was referring to the slogans chanted in favour of Sharjeel Imam in the Mumbai Pride Solidarity Gathering at Azad Maidan on February 1. Tagging an article on the microblogging website Twitter, she urged the Fadnavis couple to read it and comprehend the fact that the Mumbai police had launched a hunt for the guilty individuals.
Earlier in the day, Fadnavis slammed the Maharashtra government for not swiftly acting against the pro-Sharjeel Imam sloganeers. While acknowledging that there could be a difference in opinion, he asserted that anti-national slogans could not be tolerated. Moreover, he alleged that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government had forgotten the interests of the nation for votebank politics.
Devendra Fadnavis remarked, “The slogans in favour of Sharjeel Imam are against the nation. They are the enemies of the nation. It is really unfortunate that such a thing happened in Mumbai. In a democracy, there can be different points of view. But slogans against the nation cannot be tolerated. There should be strict action against such people.”
He added, “This is shameful. There will be bad consequences if the state government refuses to take action even after the chanting of such slogans. We cannot progress if we forget the country for votebank politics. The government should take strict action and if it does not do so, we will strongly raise our voice. I feel that there is pressure on the police.”
Meanwhile, the Queer Azadi March, the organizer of the Mumbai Pride Solidarity Gathering issued a clarification regarding the incident. It acknowledged that the slogans were chanted without anyone’s consent. Moreover, it strongly condemned the irresponsible sloganeering.
The statement read, "It was irresponsible and potentially detrimental and none of the individuals raising these slogans were part of the organizing process or permissions process with us. These slogans, performances and protests happened abruptly and precipitously without the consent of the organizers."
It elaborated, "We would like to reiterate that permission was granted for our gathering by Mumbai Police on express conditions, which we communicated to all the attendees and visitors one day before, through our social media channels. The responsibility of the gathering was taken by individuals who signed the permission, and we feel that irresponsible sloganeering under the garb of dissent not just affects the safety of individuals who signed the permission but QAM as an entity."