Banned! That’s what the two bikers who assaulted a fellow biker from Mumbai have received from the organizers of the India Bike Week. Ajit Murkute and Gajanan Laigude are the two Pune-based bikers who’ve been banned for assaulting Saurabh Mayekar, a biker from Mumbai. Murkute and Laigude assaulted Mayekar after the latter posted an Instagram picture of Murkute’s Z800 with foul words describing it. This angered the Pune-based bikers, who first confronted Mayekar, assaulted him, and then made him apologise to the motorcycle. Both Murkute and Laigude are businessmen while Mayekar is a student.
Thanush Joseph, the organizer of India Bike Week, had this to say about the ban,
We condemn such an act. By the time our security men reached the spot, they had all cleared out. We have identified an attacker and the superbike owner, and have decided to ban them from IBW. We do not tolerate such behaviour.
Meanwhile here is what Mr. Murkute has to say about the incident,
I tried my best to keep my calm despite the fact that foul language was attributed to my bike, and simply asked him to delete the post as it might impact the future sale of my bike. He was brusque in the beginning but later apologised, saying that he was in a bad mood and removed the post. In fact, Mayekar also asked me to meet him in the evening of November 25 almost as if he was extending an olive branch, and I agreed.
Gajanan Laigude adds,
We spent a whole day talking to him, requesting that he take down the post. Instead of doing so, he simply said ‘dekhta hoon’ (we shall see).
Saurabh Mayekar has a different version,
They would not relent despite my apology. They hit me several times and demanded that I apologise to the bike. Soham Jadhav (another Pune-based biker) added me on the (whatsapp) group and said he would remove my name as soon as I apologised. I did as I was told, but people kept abusing me on the group as well.
At the moment, there’s overwhelming video evidence to back up Mr. Mayekar’s story. The other side doesn’t have much to show except for statements of the assaulters themselves. Assaulting a person for her/his opinion is a serious offence under the IPC, and can invite jail time. The Indian Constitution backs free speech through Article 19. However, legal action can be initiated against any form of obscene language masquerading as free speech through the Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).