By Express News Service
MUMBAI: A Maharashtra government report has rejected allegations that police personnel forced inmates of a state government-run women’s hostel to strip and dance on March 1 in Jalgaon.
State home minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday said the government had appointed six women members, including additional district collector Trupti Dodmise, psychologists Dr Kanchan Patil and Dr Kanchan Chavan and sub-inspector Kanchan Kale, to probe the incident.
The members recorded statements of 40 people, including 17 women of Ashadeep women’s hostel, Jalgaon. The report said the alleged incident of local police personnel forcing the women to strip and dance at the hostel did not take place.
“There are 17 women inmates. Forty one witnesses were questioned. It was found that there is no truth in the allegations. No male police official was present. It is a women’s hostel and policemen are not allowed inside,” he said.
“In fact, the hostel women were having a cultural programme and they were performing a garba dance. Someone shot a video which got viral, with insinuations that women were forced to strip and dance. When this video was checked thoroughly, nothing of the sort came out. Besides, no one came forward with the purported video despite several police requests,” Deshmukh said in the Assembly.
The minister said due to the loud music, “someone from the hostel complained to the police, saying a nude dance was going on”.
“We checked the background of the woman complainant and the probe team members were told that she was not mentally stable. There was no evidence in the allegations,” Deshmukh said.
The issue was raised in the House on Wednesday by opposition members.
BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar had targeted the state government, suggesting it was not serious over the issue.
According to media reports, some women had complained about the alleged incident.
Deshmukh on Wednesday said a four-member high-level committee was formed to conduct a probe into it.
On Thursday, the Home minister said in the House that the woman complainant was mentally unstable.
“Her husband and other family members have complained about her mental condition. On February 20, an entertainment programme was organised for the inmates in which no male police official was present,” the minister said.
The programme included poetry recital, singing and dance, he said.
“During the dance, a woman who was wearing a long skirt removed it as she was feeling uncomfortable,” he said.
Jalgaon Guardian Minister Gulabrao Patil also said he had enquired with local authorities and found there was no truth in the allegations.
He said the district’s name was tarnished due to the false charges.
Maharashtra Women and Chief Development Minister Yashomati Thakur said the hostel is located in a decent residential colony.
“Due to such allegations, when destitute women leave the hostel, they face lot of trouble from the society,” Thakur said.
Congress member Nana Patole said the state’s image was maligned due to such allegations.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said whenever allegations are made,they should first be verified.
(With PTI Inputs)