NASHIK: Maharashtra minister and BJP leader Girish Mahajan has alleged the death of television actress Tunisha Sharma is a matter of love jihad and that the state is planning to bring a strict law to curb such incidents.
Mahajan's comments came on Sunday when police arrested Sharma's co-actor Sheezan Khan on the charge of abetting her suicide. Sharma, 21, who was acting in 'Ali Baba: Dastaan-E-Kabul', was found hanging in the washroom on the set of the serial on Saturday.
''TV actor Tushisha Sharma's death is a matter of love jihad. Police are investigating the case. We are seeing that such cases are increasing day by day. We are mulling to bring a strict law against it,” Mahajan said on Sunday.
''Love jihad'' is a term often used by right-wing activists to allege a ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had last week said the government would study laws on ''love jihad'' framed by other states and take an appropriate decision.
Responding to a query in a press conference held on Monday, Mahajan, who handles Panchayat Raj and Rural Development departments, said a rift in Shiv Sena set in soon after Sena MP Sanjay Raut grew close to NCP chief Sharad Pawar (after the 2019 Assembly elections).
“Sanjay Raut has a lion's share in the rift in Shiv Sena. The rift developed after he aligned with Sharad Pawar. Staunch Shiv Sainiks were unhappy over it (Raut's growing association with Pawar). In a way, Raut can be credited for bringing the present government to power,” Mahajan added.
He was responding to a query on the rebellion led by Eknath Shinde against the Shiv Sena leadership, which led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in June this year.
Subsequently, Shinde took oath as the chief minister with the support of the BJP.
“In fact, Raut was helping Eknath Shinde a lot. When some MLAs had gone to 'Matoshree'- the private residence of Uddhav Thackeray- to meet the latter, Raut told them they can also leave (the party) if they want to. Sanjay Raut was doing the work to plant dynamite for Uddhav Thackeray's Sena,” alleged Mahajan, a prominent leader from north Maharashtra who is close to senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Taking potshots at Raut who had said he would make a big disclosure in Nagpur, Mahajan said the Shiv Sena leader issues empty threats.
“Sanjay Raut always brings (verbal) bombs but they are of no use. He doesn't do anything else. Last time also, he had said he would drop a bomb but it was a dud,” Mahajan said.
He said the suspension of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Jayant Patil, who heads the state unit, for the remainder of the winter session of the state legislature is apt as his comments were objectionable.
“No one should support this wrong thing,” Mahajan said.
Patil was suspended from the Assembly on December 22 for his remarks against the chair.
Mahajan avoided commenting on Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sushma Andhare who has been targeting the BJP and the Shinde faction.
''How much importance should be given to her remarks? She speaks every day,'' he said.
Andhare drew flak for her remarks against Warkari saints and Hindu gods in the past.