According to reports on Saturday, the ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra sacked a ward-level leader for harassing and demanding sexual favors from a female auto driver. An official of the Sena party was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that Jitendra Khadye has been dismissed with immediate effect. The Vibhag Pramukh of Sainath Nagar, Virar East, was beaten up by the victim and locals on January 24 at Phoolpada after he was called for a meeting. Social media was soon flooded with videos of the incident.
Suresh Warade, a senior police inspector at the Virar Police Station stated that Khadye spotted the woman driving an auto and found her cellphone number. ‘He demanded sex and also harassed her for contact numbers of other women,’ Warade said. After Khadye was thrashed, the woman brought him to the police station and a molestation case was registered. Khadye, however, had managed to flee while the complaint was being filed, the report said.
Palghar Vasant Chavan, Shiv Sena District President, responded to the controversy by claiming Khadye was fired on the orders of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. According to Khadye, Shiv Sena has zero-tolerance for harassment of women and Khadye has discredited the party. BJP MP Raksha Khadye alleged in November that crimes against women have increased in the last two years under the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress.