Puja Chavhan ‘Suicide’: BJP Blames Shiv Sena Over Alleged Links
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has promised a thorough probe in the incident.
(If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs)
A political tussle has yet again ensued in the state of Maharashtra, in the aftermath of the death by alleged suicide of Puja Chavhan on 7 February.
Puja Chavan was a 22-year-old with a significant following on TikTok, who had come to Pune to advance her career. She hailed from Parli Vaijnath in Beed district and was pursuing an educational course in the city.
On 7 February, Puja is believed to have jumped from the first floor of her building in Pune. She used to share the Pune accommodation with her relative and another person, and the duo rushed her to the hospital, but she was pronounced dead on arrival, as per media reports.
According to the police, although the incident is of alleged suicide but no charge has been registered against anybody, in connection with the case, so far. However, the ruling Shiv Sena party has come under the scanner, with members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pointing fingers at a certain Shiv Sena minister Sanjay Rathod for his links with Chavan.
The political slugfest began after the audio clips of the individual who lived with Puja and her relative, Arun Rahod, and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Rathod discussing Puja went viral. The matter began to rake up a storm on the internet.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Aditya Thackeray has promised a thorough probe in the matter.
The Audio Clips
In the audio clips that have been doing the rounds of the internet since Puja’s demise, Arun and Sanjay Rathod appear to be discussing the possibility of Puja wanting to take her own life. Arun can be heard seemingly telling Sanjay Rathod to help him explain to Puja that she ought to remove suicidal thoughts from her mind.
He even, as it appears from the clips, went on to say that Puja is a role model for many girls and if she took such a step, it would stoke tremendous outrage.
The minister, on his part, seems to be telling Arun that he should try to talk to Puja himself, or he should bring her to Mumbai where he will handle everything.
The minister has not been reachable in the past one week. He was also not present at the last Cabinet meeting in the state.
Puja’s relative and Arun Rathod gave their statements to the police, but have not returned to their homes ever since.
BJP Attacks Shiv Sena
As soon as the incident began to spark an uproar on social media, the BJP, which is the Opposition in the state, came forward with their attacks on the ruling Shiv Sena.
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis took to Twitter to share a letter that he wrote to the Maharashtra Police Chief alleging that the ongoing probe seems to be superficial.
The letter points out that there are various media reports and social media posts about the demise of Puja Chavhan, and goes on to say:
“This has caused displeasure among the Banjara community. My office has received 12 audio clips linked to the said case, which I am attaching with this letter for your perusal. It must be probed who are the people talking in those clips, and whether Puja Chavan’s suicide by abetted by someone. Sadly, the ongoing probe seems to be superficial. We seek detailed probe into the case and strictest possible action against those responsible.”
Further, Fadnavis has sought a suo moto investigation from the police in the entire case, and accused the government of doing the work of saving the guilty.
Maharashtra BJP Vice President also took to Twitter and asked the Shiv Sena government: “Aren't you busy protecting Sanjay Rathore?”
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) tweeted on Saturday that the NCW has taken cognizance of the matter and that “chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to the Director General of Police of Maharashtra for taking appropriate action in the matter.”
Shiv Sena’s Defence
Meanwhile, CM Uddhav Thackeray has promised action against those involved in the case.
Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, on his part, stated that previously, too, a woman had filed a rape complaint against Maharashtra Cabinet minister Dhananjay Munde but the complaint was later withdrawn by her.
Thus, Pawar said that the names of ministers should not be discredited by jumping to conclusions before the investigation was complete.
Congress minister Balasaheb Thorat has advised people to maintain their cool while the investigation was underway.
What Is the Police Saying?
The Police has written in their report that Puja had come to Pune to attend spoken English classes and to make a career for herself. They have also mentioned that she had been suffering from depression since the last few days, for which she was being treated.
The office of Maharashtra Director General of Police, according to media reports, issued directives to the Pune city police to conduct an in-depth probe into the sequence of events that led to Puja’s demise.
The police has recorded statements of the two who were staying with Puja and is reported to be in the process of speaking to other members of Puja’s family.
A New Angle?
Puja's father, in a conversation with regional channel ABP Majha, said that he had taken a big loan from the bank and Puja was very worried about him.
Puja had also told her father about the messages and phone calls coming from the bank.
This piece of information shared by Puja’s father appears to be bringing a new angle to the case.
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