Mumbai, Sep 29 (IANS): A day after a +highlighted her plight of how she was allegedly refused a shop in a Gujarati-dominating building in north-east Mumbai, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray took a grim view of the incident, here on Friday.
The aggrieved woman, Tripti Devrukhkar-Ekbote called on Raj Thackeray and his wife Sharmila and other party leaders to narrate her ordeal in the Shiv Sadan Society in Mulund suburb.
"Whenever any wrong is done to a Marathi anywhere, he/she remembers the MNS… It should be like this. Such behaviour will not be tolerated. If you see injustice done to our people, you must kick them…" Raj Thackeray exhorted his party activists.
Referring to the Mulund incident of Wednesday affecting Tripti, Raj Thackeray said, "When my MNS soldiers intervened in our style, the building Secretary tendered an apology…"
He warned that if something like this is repeated in Mumbai or elsewhere in the state, it will lead to repercussions, and called upon the Maharashtra government "should also show its power".
Tripti said today that though the landlord of the premise had "no problems", it was the building Secretary who raised objections, even as some unconfirmed reports claimed that the Secretary Praveen Thakkar has reportedly been relieved of his post after the furore.
When she informed the landlord, he was also very angry, and pointed out to her that no individuals can make any arbitrary rules and they would speak with the Society’s managing committee in the matter.
Tripti said that she didn't seek help from any quarters, but after her video went viral yesterday, the local MNS first approached and tried to help her out, and all other parties came in later.
"The MNS office-bearers rushed to the building and compelled the ex-Secretary and his son to tender an apology and recorded it… I also thank Sharmila Thackeray for her strong support…" said a smiling Tripti this afternoon after calling on the Thackeray couple.
It may be recalled that a major political row erupted after Tripti was allegedly prevented from taking an office space in the Shiv Sadan Society in Mulund west.
Congress state President Nana Patole, Shiv Sena-UBT leaders Aditya Thackeray, Sushma Andhare, Nationalist Congress Party’s General Secretary Dr Jitendra Awhad, MNS Spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande and others reacted strongly over the episode, with many slamming the government of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.
After Tripti’s video outburst went massively viral, the Mulund Police booked Praveen Thakkar and his son Nilesh and detained them late on Wednesday, and are probing the matter.
In the emotional video clip, the woman is bursting into tears and narrating the experience when some Gujarati members, led by an elderly man of the society, blocked her bid, saying that "Marathis are not allowed in this society, as per rules".
"They openly threatened me, dared me to do anything, get anyone but they would not budge… The shocking thing is that not a single Maharashtrian there came to my help," said a shaken Tripti. "This is horrible… Such a thing is happening to a Marathi in Mumbai and Maharashtra and nobody speaks up for us… If we can’t take an office here then should we go to Gujarat?" Devrukhkar added in a choked voice.
Dr Awhad said that in Marwari-Jain-Gujarati societies, Marathis, Dalits are not allowed to buy properties as they are considered "lowly meat-eaters" and the Muslims barred because of their religion.
The incident and Tripti's video evoked sharp reactions on social media and some even pointed out how several prominent Muslims and Bollywood celebs experienced such discriminatory and humiliating treatment in so-called 'vegetarian' societies in the past.
Today, Bharatiya Janata Party National Secretary Pankaja Munde released a statement revealing how she had also undergone a similar harrowing experience when she wanted to buy a flat in Mumbai.