Marathi actress Ketaki Chitali, who was arrested for allegedly sharing an objectionable post on social media about NCP chief Sharad Pawar, has been sent to police custody by a court in Maharashtra on Sunday (May 15).
Her remand in police custody will be until May 18. The 29-year-old film and TV actress, was arrested by the Thane police on Saturday, after a complaint was filed against her for allegedly sharing a post in verse form on her Facebook page, which derided Pawar. This had angered NCP party members who demanded her arrest.
On Sunday, the actress known for her roles in TV shows like Tuzha Maza Breakup and Aambat God, was produced before a holiday court, which remanded her in police custody till May 18, according to news reports.
Along with Chitale, a 23-year-old pharmacy student Nikhil Bhamre, who hails from a farmer’s family in Dindori, was arrested in Nashik for allegedly making an objectionable comment on Twitter against Pawar. The police said that Bhamre does not have a prior criminal record and, in the past, was an RSS worker. Bhamre, too, did not directly name Pawar, but tweeted in Marathi: “Time has come for Baramati’s Gandhi……to create Nathuram Godse of Baramati.” Baramat is Pawar’s home turf.
He had reportedly made several such comments in the past as well.
The post shared by Chitale, was reportedly not written by her. The post referring to a “Pawar” says he is a liar, jealous of Brahmins, suffering (from cancer) because of corruption and headed to hell. But it also refers to the physical ailments the 81-year-old NCP leader suffers from. The post, put up on Friday evening, by an advocate named Nitin Bhave, received 7,400 likes and was shared by 585 people in 24 hours.
The two posts caused a lot of outrage among NCP workers in Maharashtra, with leaders lodging complaints in different police stations in the state.
Chitale was charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 500 (defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505 (2) (making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) and 153 A (spreading disharmony among people). While she was being escorted in a police van from Kalamboli police station, a mob of NCP workers surrounded her and attempted to throw ink on her. Chitale was manhandled and some ink fell on her hand and clothes.
Political party leaders across the spectrum hit out at Chitale.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Saturday said: “We have differences with them [Pawar] and those will be there. But it is quite wrong to come to such a hideous level.”
At a rally in Mumbai, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray castigated the actor: “Who are you to criticise the NCP chief ?…Why are you commenting ? She seems to be someone from the fake Hindutva camp.”