Sunday, June 23, 2024

Violence in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur over social media posts about Aurangzeb, Tipu Sultan


Communal tensions erupted in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur on Wednesday after a bandh called by Hindutva groups turned violent, forcing police to lathi-charge the unruly mobs. Hindu groups were protesting against social media posts that glorified Muslim rulers Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan

The situation is grim as protesters allegedly ransacked shops and vehicles in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Chowk.

An apparent Muslim Fruit vendor was caught on camera being attacked by a violent Hindutva mob in the Town hall area. Karveer Police Station is within walking distance of the area where the incident took place.

In the video that surfaced on social media, a group of people can be seen throwing stones and other things at a man who is running to save his life. While attacking the man, the mob can be heard saying in Marathi, “Thoko Tyaala”, which roughly translates to “kill him”.

A lady constable can also be seen in the video trying to flee the area as the situation seems out of control.

Waseem Kumandan, a cricket coach in the area told Maktoob, “Ever Since Suresh Chawhanke came to Kolhapur and injected venom inside the minds of people against Muslims, Communal harmony of the area is disturbed.”

Kumandan said, “The incidents attacking Muslims have become common and increased in Kolhapur now.”

“It has never been like this before, the Hindutva organisations are on a vandalism and hooliganism spree,” he added.

In another incident, a Hindu mob tried to enter the Akbar Mohalla, a predominantly Muslim area in Kolhapur, and Police resorted to lathi charges and tear gas as the situation went out of control. 

Curfew is imposed in the area as communal tensions flare up after several right-wing outfits called for a bandh seeking action against Muslims over social media posts on Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and Mysore King Tipu Sultan.

According to Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Mahedra Pandit, 21 people have been arrested in connection to the entire incident.

“In connection to the Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan post the Hindutva organization gave a call to bandh as a protest, the protest escalated as some miscreants pelted stones and an offence has been registered against them too at Laxmipur PS.”

An air of uneasy calm prevailed in Kolhapur and police in numbers is deployed in the area to enforce peace. The police investigation is under process.

Meanwhile, Deepak Kesarkar, the guardian minister for Kolhapur, said that action has been taken against persons who used Tipu Sultan’s image with an objectionable audio message.

Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde urged the citizens to maintain peace and harmony in the state and assured them that government is responsible to maintain law and order in the state.

Ghazala Ahmad contributed to this report.


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