Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam, who triggered a row by calling the army's surgical strikes "fake", today claimed to have received a "threat call" from alleged gangster Ravi Pujari asking him to tender a public apology over his remarks
As Nirupam and his family face a backlash on social media, his wife Geeta has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ensuring safety of her family since she is feeling "very unsafe" in India in the wake of the online trolling.
Nirupam told reporters here that Pujari called on his residence landline on 5 October around 11.15 AM from a foreign number and he had filed a police complaint at the Versova police station.
According to Nirupam, he and his family members were threatened with dire consequences if he failed to tender a public apology over his remarks on the cross-LoC army action on terror camps in Pakistan-occuped Kashmir(PoK).
"I have filed a complaint with Versova police about the threat," he said, adding that so far neither Mumbai Police Commissioner nor any other authority has sought information from him in this connection.
Nirupam, whose recent comments questioning veracity of surgical strikes by Army in PoK had evoked critical reactions from across political spectrum, sought to blame the BJP government on the alleged threat he received.
"Will Opposition leaders be now threatened through goondas (criminals and hooligans). I am a leader who is from the masses. Why am I being threatened?" Nirupam asked.
Unfazed by the attack over the issue, Nirupam said "earlier too such strikes have taken place. But now it has been politicised. Why should evidence not be demanded on the strikes? If Pakistan is campaigning against us, evidence should be placed. We are proud of our army."
Targeting the BJP, he said the ruling party is indulging in politics over the blood of soldiers. "We will definitely ask questions. This has never happened before."
In her letter, Geeta claimed that she was being abused openly and accused in the "most vulgar and demeaning manner possible not only on social media but even via phone calls".
Expressing concern about the security of her family, Geeta has appealed to Modi to "check the vulgar comments of the random social media activists and keep politics aside from the personal and familial life".
Referring to Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's statement last year that his wife Kiran Rao was feeling "unsafe" in India when a debate raged on the issue of intolerance, Geeta said that she too was feeling very "unsafe" in her own country.
"I am sadly disappointed and waiting for you to press the stop button and at least make sure that there is some censorship that monitors language on mass media. Politics is not a family game, so, can we stop dragging families into it? I want answers to my questions.
"Yes, my husband said something that was clearly political in nature, which could have easily been discussed/debated intellectually amongst political rivals and even commoners; just like any other Indian," Geeta stated in her letter, which she has also shared on Facebook.
She added, "He (Nirupam) was talking about the nation and politics, not about his personal life and family. So, why is this so-called culture- and family-oriented nation — that otherwise worships 'the Devi' — dragging his 80-year-old mother into this political drama and abusing her by using the most vulgar language possible on social media?"
"If a girl is raped or molested, activists organise candle marches to restore modesty, but not one person is ashamed of using social media to abuse, emotionally torture and verbally 'rape' the women in my family by threatening to burn my husband alive or killing him in broad daylight, just because he expressed his opinion," Geeta said.
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