A cartoon published in Shiv Sena's mouthpiece Saamana has drawn immense flak from senior Shiv Sena leaders, political parties and even ally BJP. The cartoon alludes to the 'silent march' being taken out by the Maratha community. Shiv Sena has largely kept mum on the ongoing agitation, but the cartoon puts party in the backfoot.
According to a report in DNA, following the publishing of the cartoon, Bhaskarrao Bhange from Marathwada, Ravi Raj (corporator) from Dhule and Ashok Khedkar from Buldhana have submitted their resignations to the Sena chief.
Enraged by the cartoon, the Saamana office in Navi Mumbai was stoned on Tuesday. A pro-Maratha social organisation, 'Sambhaji Brigade', later claimed responsibility for the attack. Three youths arrived in a vehicle at the Saamana printing press building located at Sanpada in Navi Mumbai at around 1.45 pm. They called the guard of the press and requested him to take a letter, the police told PTI.
Sanpada(Maha):Protesters agitated over cartoon related to Maratha protests,pelted stones at Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna office,earlier today pic.twitter.com/76OC9iAcsa
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 27, 2016
As the guard was approaching their vehicle, the youths got down from the vehicle, rushed towards the press building and allegedly pelted it with stones and fled, they said. Two-three glasses on the building's outer wall were damaged in the attack, they added.
After getting information of the attack, police reached the spot and a complaint was lodged by the office-bearers at Sanpada police station. Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagarale confirmed the incident. Police said an offence has been registered against the culprits and appropriate action will be taken.
Condemning the cartoon, the organisation's spokesperson Shivanand Bhanuse told PTI, "We are condemning a cartoon which was published in Saamana. Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and Saamana's executive editor Sanjay Raut must apologise to the women of Maharashtra."
"The attack was spontaneous and an expression of emotions of the Maratha community," he said. On Sunday, a cartoon on "silent march" was published in Saamana, which drew criticism from various political quarters.
The Marathas have been organising silent marches across the state following the Kopardi rape and murder incident, in which the victim was a member from the community. Some more such rallies are also planned in the state in the coming days.
With inputs from PTI