February 29, 2024

MOON Desk: The erstwhile royal town of Kolhapur in Maharshtra was tense after protests and a shutdown call was issued by some Hindu organisations on Wednesday over alleged praise to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and the Mysore King Tipu Sultan.Police resorted to mild caning and bursting teargas as some mobs resorted to attacking the security forces, pelted stones, overturned some vehicles and forced local shopkeepers to down shutters.

The police were seen chasing the protesters, caning a mob at one spot and later catching and detaining many of the mobsters.Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis are closely monitoring the situation even as security was beefed up in the town with orders to the local administration to bring the situation under control and restore peace in Kolhapur on priority.

“I am in constant touch with the local authorities… I urge people to maintain restraint and not take the law into their hands. We shall ensure that law and order is maintained in Kolhapur,” said Shinde.“We appeal to people to maintain peace… We shall not tolerate the glorification of Aurangzeb… This is the state of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj,” said Fadnavis hinting at a conspiracy.

Cabinet ministers Deepak Kesarkar and Shamburaj Desai said that some political elements are making deliberate attempts to disturb the communal harmony in the state and warned that they would be dealt with a heavy hand.

The Opposition Nationalist Congress Party, President Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut, MP and Congress leaders have slammed the state government for failing to maintain the law and order in the town, and urged for immediate steps to restore peace there.

Raut questioned the Shinde-Fadnavis government on “who is behind these disturbances”, how anybody could dare to glorify Aurangzeb under their rule, and suspects a ploy to exploit the sentiments as was done in other states.

Several Hindu groups and organisations had called for ‘Kolhapur bandh’ to protest against alleged paeans to Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan on social media, waving of posters in Ahmednagar and such other stray incidents in the past few days.

Meanwhile, tight police security has been deployed in Kolhapur particularly some of the sensitive pockets with other forces reportedly kept on alert.

 

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