A woman Central Railway officer was on Tuesday harassed by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) members, just because she asked them to submit their RTI application either in English or Hindi. According to Headlines Today, MNS members started scolding a woman officer at Mumbai’s CST because she had apparently asked a party worker to submit his RTI application in either Hindi or English since his application written in Marathi was illegible. The Central Railways officer Swati Sinha was at her desk at around 11 am when a crowd of MNS workers, including some women, barged into her office and started lambasting her for refusing to entertain an RTI query in Marathi and for ‘demanding’ that the applicant write his application in Hindi or English. The woman officer broke down completely while the MNS workers kept harassing her.
She was asked to write an apology letter not only to the MNS RTI activist, but also to the Marathi speaking community as a whole for her ‘behaviour’.
The officer has, however, refused to file a formal complaint against the MNS workers. She has received support from Chief PRO Narendra Patil, who said she was not in the wrong for asking for submission of a fresh application since the content in Marathi was illegible. While one understands that one can demand for an RTI in any language, the way MNS blew this scenario out of proportion is astounding.
What is even more stupefying is the fact that even after the women officer gave MNS the demanded written apology, party spokesperson Vageesh Saraswat insolently remarked:
“Anyone who works in Maharashtra must know Marathi language and culture. No one can be spared for this be it a male or female.”