THANE/MUMBAI: Union Minister and Republican Party of India (RPI-A) chief Ramdas Athawale, who was attacked by a youth during an event in Ambernath town on Saturday, said on Sunday that he will meet the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and demand a thorough probe into the incident.
The RPI-A chief also ridiculed the security arrangement put in place by the district administration in the Ambernath town and said there were many lapses in it.
''I'm a popular leader. This might have been done at the behest of someone angry over something. Security arrangement there wasn't adequate. I'll meet the state's CM over this incident. It should be investigated,'' Athawale told ANI.
Ramdas Athawale on him being slapped by a worker of RPI(A) at an event in Thane y'day: I'm a popular leader,this might have been done at behest of someone angry over something. Security arrangement there wasn't adequate. I'll meet CM over this incident. It should be investigated. pic.twitter.com/Btud6fvU2s
— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2018
A 30-year-old man, identified as Pravin Gosavi, was detained for allegedly attempting to slap Athawale at a public event in Maharashtra's Ambernath town in Thane district on Saturday night.
The RPI-A chief was in the town to address a rally there on Saturday.
Athawale had just got off the dais after delivering a speech on the Constitution when the incident happened at around 10.15 PM, a police officer said.
Pravin Gosavi, on the pretext of garlanding Athawale, allegedly tried to slap him, following which people overpowered him, beat him up and handed him over to the police.
The Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment was not harmed as the bystanders and police managed to foil Gosavi's attempt to assault him, the officer said.
Gosavi, who was first admitted to a hospital in Ulhasnagar town following the public beating, was later shifted to a state-run hospital in Mumbai, the police said.
"We have registered a case under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. Gosavi has been detained and not arrested as yet," said Ambernath Police Station Inspector KG Chavan.
While a probe was underway to ascertain why Gosavi had tried to attack the Minister, a senior police officer said it could have been out of frustration for having been expelled from the RPI (A).
"Gosavi's membership was terminated from the Republican Party of India (Athawale) a year ago for criminal activities as he was blackmailing people through RTI (Right to Information pleas)," PP Shewale, Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone IV), Thane Police, said.
"He may have been frustrated over it (expulsion from the party) and may have tried to manhandle the Union Minister," the DCP added.
Meanwhile, a video of the incident has also gone viral on social media.
#WATCH Maha: People thrash Pravin Gosavi, a worker of the youth wing of Republican Party of India, who slapped Union Minister & party leader Ramdas Athawale at an event in Thane y'day. Gosavi has been admitted to a hospital. FIR registered against him, investigation on. (08.12) pic.twitter.com/zvYmNaV8Wi
— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2018
The local RPI (A) unit has called for a shutdown in Ambernath and Maharashtra on Sunday as a mark of protest.
A police officer said the situation in the town was calm and under control, with a large posse of police personnel out on the streets to keep vigil. No untoward incident has been reported since morning, the officer added.
(With PTI inputs)