Independent MP from Amravati Navneet Kaur Rana, who was arrested last month in connection with the Hanuman Chalisa row in Mumbai, appeared before the parliamentary committee on privilege on Monday, alleging “maltreatment” by the police.
“The committee will hear from everyone and match their notes before arriving at a decision,” a person familiar with Monday’s proceedings said on condition of anonymity. “As of now, only a preliminary hearing has taken place, wherein the MP has explained her stance.”
The committee heard from Rana about the allegations of her “patently illegal arrest and the consequent inhuman treatment meted out” by the Mumbai police. The panel is also likely to hear from the Mumbai police in the matter as it seeks further clarity in the case.
“The facts will be determined on the basis of document and evidence,” the person said. “There will be follow-up meetings.”
Navneet, who spoke to the media in Delhi prior to appearing before the committee, claimed she was trying to ensure that no elected representative would have to face her ordeal and added that apart from commissioner of police Sanjay Pandey, “those who had given orders to the police and killed the constitution,” would have to reply before the committee.
“I am seeking justice at the appropriate forum. I will reveal the injustice perpetrated on me before the privilege committee… I am sure that my voice will be heard,” she said.
Navneet and her MLA husband Ravi Rana were arrested on April 23 after they announced to recite Hanuman Chalisa in front of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence Matoshree “to remind the Shiv Sena leader of his Hindutva roots”.
The announcement had led to the gathering of Shiv Sainiks in large numbers outside Matoshree and the Rana residence at Khar. The couple, who are close to the Bhartiya Janata Party, later withdrew their plan citing the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mumbai.
The two were charged under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. They were released from prison after 12 days.
The Ranas have complained of ill-treatment during their incarceration. Navneet had written to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, alleging that she was denied “basic human rights” as the police had denied her drinking water and access to a washroom.
The letter prompted the Centre to seek a response from the Maharashtra government.
Reacting to the allegations, Pandey had shared a video on Twitter showing the lawmaker couple having tea in Khar police station, with a caption: “Do we say anything more?”
Last week, throwing yet another challenge to Thackeray and Sena, the couple threatened to recite Hanuman Chalisa in public at Bandra Kurla Complex where the CM had held a public meeting earlier this month, though they have not specified the date. The Ranas have also taunted Thackeray for allegedly diluting his commitment to Hindutva for the sake of power.
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