KOLHAPUR: Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has appealed to the masses to cooperate for the restoration of peace after violence in Kolhapur district on Tuesday. Normalcy returned late in the afternoon and evening as there was regular traffic, though vehicles were fewer, around Shivaji Chowk and the KMC main building nearby. Almost 90% of shops, trade and business establishments remained shut.
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The situation in Kolhapur is currently under control. The troublemakers who were taking advantage of the situation to scare people and trigger riots are being searched for and action will be taken to arrest them. Tear gas and lathis were used only when necessary and to bring the situation under control. A case will be registered against the culprits after taking cognizance of the damage caused.

Special Inspector General of Police (Kolhapur Zone) Sunil Phulari

Twenty people were detained after a bandh call by Bajrang Dal over a status eulogising Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan posted on some social media accounts turned violent at Shivaji Chowk.
Police officials said that the protesters were insisting that they be allowed to take out a morcha. “We asked them not to move away from the protest site. At this time, another group of protesters, which came marching towards Shivaji Chowk from Bindu Chowk, got restive and started pelting stones and damaging vehicles.”
Police resorted to heavy lathicharge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse protesters, who had gathered in large numbers at Shivaji Chowk despite prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144.

  • Two-wheelers, shops damaged

The ensuing melee, apart from injuring people, left a trail of 50-odd damaged two-wheelers and autorickshaws, besides some damaged shops, because of stone-pelting. Many protesters threw stones at vehicles, a place of worship, the meat market and establishments belonging to one community before an additional police force moved in to take control of the situation.

  • Students, tourists affected

The violence caught many tourists visiting the revered Mahalaxmi temple near Shivaji Chowk off guard, as some of them also faced the heat of police lathicharge and had to be moved to safer places by local residents. It also affected many Shivaji University Kolhapur students, who needed to reach their exam centres for the summer semester examinations.
Maharashtra principal secretary (home) Dinesh Wanghmare issued an emergency order suspending internet services in Kolhapur for 31 hours to avoid spreading of fake messages, calls for gathering of mob with an intention to cause damage to the life and property by use of social media and digital platforms.

I am surprised that in Kolhapur, a prominent leader of an opposition party had said that he ‘feels riots are likely in Kolhapur’. After his statement, some youths started eulogising Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan and some people reacted to it. Is there any relation between the statement and the events that took place thereafter?. Who suddenly started eulogising Aurangzeb in Maharashtra? Who is encouraging them? Who is telling them to praise Aurangzeb? We are investigating these questions. Some things we know, but we will reveal them once the inquiry is done. It is not a coincidence that the eulogising of Aurangzeb has started suddenly in different districts of Maharashtra. We will not tolerate such things as Maharashtra belongs to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis

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