New Year celebrations for all these trekkers from Pune and Mumbai turned right into a nightmare when they were manhandled, stripped naked and beaten up by several self-proclaimed ‘bhakts’ of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at a Lonavala-based fortress. They were compelled to hold chant slogans and saffron flags like ‘Jai Shivaji, Jai Bhavani’.
15 individuals involved
The episode came to light when a Pune-based fitness trainer Shalini Pallav Jhala (36) approached SP (Lonavala Rural Authorities) Jay Jadhav and filed a complaint against 15 individuals, including six women.
In search of a peaceful spot to observe her husband and Shalini chose to go to Visapur Fort adjoining to Lohagad near Lonavala.
Talking to midday, Shalini said, “ I found a travel website While searching up the Internet ‘Life Away From Life’ that had details regarding the camp and mentioned the charges as R3,000 per person. Afterwards, I made us the bookings, including my husband’s coworkers Nilesh Vaidya and Priyanka and their partners.”
Married! So what?
She further said, “We reached the spot around 1 pm on December 31. While playing cricket around 3.30 pm, we heard a loud noise coming from space, but we discounted it. Later, in the evening when we were enjoying a campfire, suddenly some six girls dressed in salwar kameez and equipped with bamboo sticks came and started mistreating us. They thought we were intoxicated and had taken drugs. They asked us to show our mangal sutras and mistreated us for not wearing bindi.” when we told them that we were married couples
“Later, a gang of nine sons arrived at the spot and forced the guys to take off their clothes. They asked them to chant slogans related to Shivaji Maharaj holding saffron flags and poured cold beverage on them,” she added.
Five-year-old beaten up
“A girl by the name I was kicked at by Rasika and said that we were creating pain in the region. They beat up Nilesh’s five-year-old son. He's still in shock as he saw daddy being brutally beaten up and his mother being slapped. My right hand was fractured. After, when the authorities were told by one of the guests at the camp, two constables arrived at the area and saved us. When we approached the local police station to register a case, they did not show any interest. Consequently, we determined not to go ahead with it.”
Principal accused booked
However, on he said that an internal inquiry would be conducted from the policemen, who didn’t accept the charge and immediately asked his staff to register a case. Speaking to midday, Jadhav said, “we've filed a case from the volunteers and organiser Pratik Dasgupta, as he failed to have the necessary permission to organise the camp under Bombay Police Act. The main accused Rasika has been arrested. We are going to soon arrest most of the volunteers.”
Added superintendent of police Rajkumar Shinde said, “ a case has been registered by us based on Shalini’s complaint. Actions will soon be taken from the policemen who did not take the case seriously.”