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Union Minister arrested over ‘slap’ remark against CM Thackeray

Union Minister Narayan Rane was detained today after a dispute erupted over his statements about slapping Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for what he said was the latter’s ignorance of the year of India‚Äôs independence.

According to a report, the BJP leader was apprehended by police in the coastal Ratnagiri area, where he was travelling as part of the Jan Ashirwad Yatra. After being apprehended, Rane was brought to the Sangameshwar police station.

Reports claimed that Rane complained of high blood pressure and sugar levels and a doctor was summoned to check him.

‘It is shameful that the chief minister does not know the year of independence. He leaned back to enquire about the count of years of independence during his speech. Had I been there, I would have given (him) a tight slap,’ Rane remarked while addressing Jan Ashirwad Yatra in the Raigad district on Monday.

Meanwhile, BJP National President JP Nadda stated the Maharashtra government’s detention of the Union minister is a ‘violation of constitutional values. We will not be intimidated or subdued by such actions.’

Rane had gone to the Bombay High Court earlier on Tuesday to contest the FIRs filed against him for his statements against Uddhav Thackeray and to seek protection from arrest. The FIRs were to be dismissed, according to the Union minister’s plea, which was submitted through lawyer Aniket Nikam. In addition, the senior lawmaker requested an interim injunction protecting him from arrest or coercion.

The plea was presented before a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar today, requesting an immediate hearing. The court, on the other hand, declined to hear it, stating that mentioning (the petition) was not permitted and instructed the lawyer to follow the proper procedure. ‘File an application with the Registry department for an urgent hearing, and we would examine it,’ the Bombay High Court said.

Devendra Fadnavis, the former Maharashtra Chief Minister, has criticised the Maharashtra administration for employing the police to repress the state’s opposition. ‘We do not support Narayan Rane’s statements. But looking at the way the government is using police force to act in a lawless manner, we will support Rane as an individual and the whole party is with him. Two FIRs have been registered against Rane and a whole team is going to arrest him. Where was this police when Bharat Mata was abused,’ he said.

Fadnavis further added, ‘Sharijil Usmani abused Bharat Mata but no FIR was registered against him but you (state govt) filed FIR against Narayan Rane.’

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The BJP leader also issued a warning to Shiv Sena leaders against throwing stones at the party’s headquarters. ‘We do not act like hooligans. But if our party office is attacked in the presence of police, we are capable of protecting ourselves. This is the ‘police jivi’ government. It is state-sponsored violence just like in Bengal,’ he stated. Fadnavis further added that even if Rane is jailed, the BJP will continue with the Jan Ashirwad Yatra.

After Rane had caused controversy with his comments about smacking CM Thackeray, Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey ordered Rane’s immediate arrest on Tuesday after an FIR was filed against him in north Maharashtra city for his anti-CM comments.

Workers from the Shiv Sena held a demonstration in Mumbai’s Lalbaug against Rane, waving black flags. Kishori Pednekar, the Mayor of Mumbai, was also present. Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut said, ‘Rane should ‘show some respect for the Constitution’ and resign as a Union minister after being detained.

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