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Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Jitu Patwari booked for remarks on BJP leader Imarti Devi

The FIR against Patwari, who has since apologised for the remark, was registered in Dabra town in Gwalior on the complaint of Imarti Devi.
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 15:47 IST
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 15:47 IST

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Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Jitu Patwari was booked on Friday for his alleged derogatory remarks about state BJP leader Imarti Devi, which sparked a controversy and prompted criticism from Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and other leaders from the ruling party.

The FIR against Patwari, who has since apologised for the remark, was registered in Dabra town in Gwalior on the complaint of Imarti Devi, a senior police official said.

It started after an audio clip went viral on social media in which a woman can be heard supporting the Congress candidates from the Bhind and Gwalior Lok Sabha seats, with the claim that the voice was of Imarti Devi, a former MLA from Dabra in Gwalior district.

Imarti Devi, a former minister, however, denied that it was her voice in the audio clip and termed it a conspiracy.

Asked about the audio clip and the ex-MLA’s denial, Patwari allegedly made some offensive remarks using wordplay with the term ‘imarti’, a popular sweet.

BJP leaders, including Scindia, called it an insult to women.

“These are not just his words, but the mentality of the entire Congress party. Insulting Dalits, especially women, has become the norm of this party. Babasaheb Ambedkar has inspired the women and Dalits of the country to fight for their respect,” Scindia wrote on X late on Thursday night.

Scindia, the BJP candidate from Guna Lok Sabha seat, shared a video of Patwari’s remark and said Dalit brothers and sisters of Madhya Pradesh will take revenge for the “cheap” comment about Imarti Devi.

Around 3 am on Friday, Patwari took to X to express his regret over the comment.

“One of my statements is being distorted and presented in the wrong context. My intention was only to avoid answering the question. Imarti ji is like my elder sister. An elder sister is like a mother. I express my regret if anyone is still hurt,” Patwari said.

Patwari was booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 509 (insult the modesty of any woman) and provisions of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, said Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Niranjan Sharma.

In a video message, Imarti Devi said she prayed to God to give wisdom to Congress leaders.

"It does not suit them to speak like this about a Dalit woman. Patwari is young but senior leaders of his party have made several such comments on earlier occasions," she said.

Addressing a press conference, MP minister Krishna Gaur came out in support of Imarti Devi, who she said was a 'strong representative of Dalit woman power'.

"This is not only an insult to Imarti Devi but an insult to the entire women power of the country and Scheduled Castes. This shows the basic character of Congress. They insult women whenever they find an opportunity," Gaur said.

She also questioned the silence of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on the issue.

Meanwhile, the BJP workers waved black flags when Patwari reached Ghodadongri town in Betul district in the afternoon.

Imarti Devi was among the Congress MLAs who had joined the BJP along with Scindia in March 2020, triggering the collapse of the Kamal Nath government in MP. She lost both elections from the Dabra assembly seat as a BJP candidate after 2020.

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Published 03 May 2024, 15:47 IST

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