The Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar (MBVV) police disrupted a protest meeting called by a citizens forum against hate speech at a public event on 12 March, attended by the local MLA Geeta Jain among other BJP leaders. The campaign, uniquely called ‘#GetWellSoonGeetaJain’, was being held at a busy crossroad. The protestors had printed postcards with slogans and the local MLA’s address and were requesting common citizens to add their names and signatures to it.
This is when the police intervened. According to Sadique Basha, one of the organisers, the police confiscated the postcards saying the MLA’s name cannot be taken in the protest. He said, ‘ I was summoned to the police station and advised against using Geeta Jain’s name in the protest’. On being asked why, the police reportedly told the organisers that they will not be able to prevent any ‘untoward’ incident from happening if the MLA’s supporters turn up. The MLA’s name was also pasted over using ‘ Zomato stickers ‘ on the banner at the protest venue.
Interestingly, the protest was postponed from its Sunday date on the police’s request citing law and order problems due to a large number of outsiders arriving at the city to hear self styled Godman, Dhirendra Shastri speak. This ‘Divya darshan’ event where reportedly ‘Bharat Hindu Rashtra bangles’ slogans were raised , was also led by the MLA, Geeta Jain.
Sukhdev Banbanci, leader of the AAP in Mira-Bhayandar, expressed his dismay at the disruption saying, ‘ the MLA uses her name and picture to invite citizens to events where hate speeches are made, and we cannot use her name to protest hate speech.’
The citizens group had earlier met with the commissioner of police, MBVV, asking him to take action against hate speeches in Mira-Bhayandar. The police are yet to take any action against the speaker, Kajal Hindustani or the organisers of the event where economic boycott of Muslims was called for.
When SabrangIndia reached out to Police Inspector Ghilani of the Mira Road Police Station, he said, “We had requested the organisation for the postcards which were given to us”. On being queried further, he refused to give any more details. Assuming he meant that the postcards were not confiscated but were voluntarily handed over, an alleged video of the incident tells a different story.
Police disrupts anti #hatespeech program in Mira Road and confiscates postcards. #GetWellSoonGeetaJain #NafratMuktMirabhayandar @MiraBhyUpdates @MiraBhayanderKr @onnrecord @cityheadlines17 pic.twitter.com/Nfr42xWKQz
— Sadique M Basha (@SadiqueMBasha) March 20, 2023