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Balladeers threaten to ‘chop off’ M’rashtra woman activist

Pune (Maharashtra), Feb 22 (IANS) Maharashtra’s woman activist Trupti Desai, known for leading agitations at Shani Shingnapure, Haji Ali Dargah and Sabarimala Temple, has claimed death threats from supporters of a famed balladeer Nivrutti Deshmukh alias Indurikar Maharaj based in Ahmednagar, on Saturday.

She has submitted a written complaint to the Pune Police and also to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray seeking action in the matter and protection for self and family members.

“Yesterday, I got a call from a person said to be a supporter of the balladeer, Somnath Maharaj Bhor who abused me in the foulest words, called me a bitch’, an ‘eunuch’ and even threatened to ‘chop me to pieces’ if I dared to enter Akole town (in Ahmednagar),” Desai told IANS.

While the police have not yet initiated any steps in the matter, the CM’s Office replied today saying they would step in after enquiring into the matter, she said.

When contacted, Somnath Maharaj Bhor countered that she (Desai) has threatened to come to Akole and “blacken Indurikar Maharaj’s face” which will not be tolerated.

“This is an insult to Indurikar Maharaj who is like our father figure, revered by the masses and an icon of Hindu religion. I admit I was carried away by emotions to speak such threatening language with her (Desai), but she must also not cross her limits,” Bhor told IANS.

To a specific question by IANS, Bhor apologetically said that although he had issued the threat to “chop off” Desai, “we are not the kind of people to actually carry it out. But we shall also not keep quiet”.

Desai added that for the past nearly two weeks, she has been targeted, brutally trolled and given death threats on social media with messages and videos by persons proclaiming to be supporters of Indurikar Maharaj, which must be thoroughly investigated.

She contended that the popular folk balladeer travels around the state singing bhajans, kirtans and preaching to the people and in one of his recent programmes, he allegedly spread ‘andha-shraddha’ (superstitions) through his discourses among the masses.

“He claimed that if men and women have physical relations on certain days of the month, they would beget a male child, on other days a female child and if the time was inauspicious, then the consequences would be the birth of a child with defects,” Desai said referring to the huge controversy which created fresh political chasms in the state.

After Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, Desai and other activists demanded stringent action against Indurikar Maharaj, he expressed “regrets” for his utterances.

“That matter has already been resolved. Now, why does she (Desai) want to come and create more ruckus here? We will not remain mute spectators if she indulges in such stunts,” Bhor warned.

Desai said she raised her voice for the masses because the ruling parties Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress are not interested in taking any action in the matter while the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is openly supporting such persons who publicly portray women in such poor light.

“My demand still stands: The government must book Indurikar Maharaj for his utterances spreading superstitions and others who are issuing death threats to me, failing which I shall launch an agitation,” she declared.

–IANS

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