Delhi Police books TMC MP Mahua Moitra for 'derogatory' social media remark on NCW chief

TMC leader Mahua Moitra
TMC leader Mahua Moitra

New Delhi | Delhi Police has registered an FIR against TMC Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra for her "derogatory" social media remark on National Commission for Women chief Rekha Sharma, officials said on Sunday.

Moitra was booked under Section 79 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) that deals with a word, gesture or act intended to insult modesty of a woman. This was the first FIR registered under the BNS by the Delhi Police's Special Cell since it came into force on July 1.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader commented on a video posted on X that showed Sharma arriving at the site of a stampede in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras on July 4. Moitra later deleted the post, which referred to a man holding an umbrella and walking behind the National Commission for Women (NCW) chief.

Reacting to the development, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla asked what was stopping TMC chief Mamata Banerjee from sacking Moitra.

A senior officer said the FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint to the police commissioner by the NCW.

"The commission is mandated to monitor and look into the matters relating to deprivation of women's rights … and provide protection to women," the officer said, referring to the FIR's contents.

Saying the NCW took suo motu cognisance of Moitra's "derogatory remarks", the FIR stated, "The crude remarks made by Moitra are extremely outrageous and a sheer violation of a women's right to live with dignity."

According to the officer, the commission observed that the remark attracted Section 79 of the BNS.

"The commission strongly condemns the defamatory remarks made by Moitra. Therefore, you are requested to take strict action against Moitra … A detailed action-taken report may be communicated to the commission within three days," the FIR stated.

Moitra's now-deleted comment drew a sharp response from the BJP, with the saffron party demanding that she be "sacked" from the TMC.

On Sunday, after Moitra was booked, BJP leader Poonawalla said in a post on X, "Case lodged against TMC MP Mahua Moitra. She is accused of hurting the dignity of a woman."

He also attacked the opposition INDIA bloc, of which the TMC is a constituent, and asked, "What is stopping (TMC supremo) Mamta Banerjee from sacking her? From Priyanka (Gandhi) Vadra, Priyanka Chaturvedi, AAP, Rahul Gandhi, Kharge ji, etc from condemning it?"

"Will they remain silent like they were in Swati Maliwal, Sandeshkhali and Chopra Talibani flogging case! How convenient!!" he said.

The NCW had earlier alleged Moitra's remark was "outrageous and a violation of a woman's right to dignity", observing that it attracted Section 79 of the BNS.

"An FIR should be registered against Moitra and a detailed action report should be communicated to the commission within three days," it had said in a post on X.

Reposting the NCW's post, Moitra had said, "Come on Delhi Police, please take action immediately on these suo moto orders. Am in Nadia in case you need me in the next three days to make a quick arrest."

In an apparent jibe at the NCW chief, she had said, "I Can Hold My Own Umbrella."

In another post, Moitra shared several screenshots of posts made by Sharma and said an FIR should also be lodged against those posts.

"Also Delhi Police, while you're at it can you please register an FIR against another serial offender under your new Act," she had said.

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