Senior activists and citizens active in public life met the Collector, Rahul Rekhawar on Friday, June 9 pressing the civil servant to assure that those guilty of fomenting communal tensions in the southern Maharashtra town be promptly prosecuted. While deploring the social media post (valorising Aurangzeb) that had allegedly stoked the fires, they asked the administration why the entire city of Kolhapur, especially the Muslims held hostage to this one act?
“We expect that the administration (police and bureaucracy) to be governed strictly according to the law. After the incident (of the social media post) in Kolhapur city, fuelling a ‘reaction’ how were illegal assemblies and mobs allowed to gather and terror spread?”
Deploring strongly this attempt to spread and create riots, the delegation has in a written statement released thereafter pointed out that, “This is in the city of Kolhapur, which has a tradition of religious harmony between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Rajshree Shahu Maharaj. The incident is condemnable.”
Representatives in the delegation called the Bharatiya Lok Andolan included, Com. Dilip Pawar Dr. Uday Narkar, Bhai Baburao Kadam, Dr. Megha Pansare, . Prof. Subhash Jadhav, Suresh Shipurkar, Bhai Sambhaji Jagdale, Ravindra Jadhav, Rasiva Padalkar, . Krushnat Kore, Com. Vivek Godse, Com. Raghunath Kamble among others.
Besides, the statement released by the delegation, adds, in recent times in Kolhapur, deliberate attempts have been made by Hindutva organizations to polarize society on religious grounds. Before the protest march organized by Hindutva on ‘Love Jihad’, these citizens had met the Collector and urged to disallow it and also to take action against the provocative posters put up announcing the rally. However states the delegation’s statement, no action was taken by the police and administration. In the earlier delegation, the group of citizens had also questioned exactly how many actual cases of ‘love-jihad’ the government has recorded in the district at that time. Then, collector Rekhawar had assured the delegation that he would provide this information, and yet, to date this information has not been made public. Now, stated citizens this information shoul be made public immediately.
On June 7, 2023, it was Hindutva organisations who suddenly called a Kolhapur “bandh” to demand strict action against those who posted offensive status and release of their detained activists. Despite the curfew, a large number of people were allowed to gather and despite police appeals for calm, they violently attacked, pelted stones, vandalized and vandalized. Muslim persons and their shops were attacked and damaged. The motive and plan was clearly to cause damage to one section, a particular community (read Muslims). According to media reports dozens were injured and the total losses suffered by people in the targeted violence was a staggering Rs 1.5 crores.
On June 7, at a meeting with the guardian minister for the district, Dilip Kesarkar, members of the delegation were present and took strong exception when, at first, he refused to allow some of the independent citizens representatives to speak. Said comrade Dilip Pawar, a close associate of the late comrade Pansare vehemently objected and observed that it was the obligation of an elected representative to meet and listen to the grievances of all citizens, especially those working for harmony and social peace.
The delegation had also met the riot-affected families in the targeted areas and told the Collector that fear still reigns and the concern is how to compensate for the losses suffered by the economically deprived.
The serious issues raised by the delegation of citizens are:
- The events that took place dated on June 6 and 7, 2023 have violated the secular principles of the Constitution and the values of equality and reconciliation of Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj. Also according to these values administration and police more strict action is expected from them.
- Criminals should be prosecuted by law. But why was the entire society under siege?
- How could thousands of people gather in the city despite the ban? Who exactly were these people? How did they stockpile stones, bricks, glass bottles? How could the police not have an idea of this? Why was no action taken before the riots? When there was no response to the call made by the police to withdraw the bandh, why did not an urgent meeting of the representatives of both communities be called for peace?
- By all accounts this riot seems to have been premeditated. It is the responsibility of the Hindutva organizations that called for marches and bandhs to control them. Failure to do so will cause the entire city to go through stress took The poor suffered. Why was no strict action taken against the leaders of these organizations? Why are they not being compensated for the damage?
- It is illegal to demand the release of people involved in rioting and violence when they are arrested. On the contrary, the masterminds of this riot and the people who incited the mob to become violent by giving provocative speeches should be severely punished.
- On June 7, at the peace meeting organised by the police and administration, the presence of the guardian minister Deepak Kesarkar and representatives of Hindutva organizations was avoidable Meetings with these representatives shd have been separate from the peace meeting. When the meeting one was organized by the administration and the police, why were the office bearers of the political parties present on the stage?
- Proper Panchnama should be prepared for computing the loss of injured and damaged people in this riot and get them immediate compensation / government assistance.
- What plan is the administration going to implement to prevent such incidents from happening in the future? How will violent, fanatical organizations be controlled?
- It has been published in the newspaper that a report has come to the state government that there will be systematic efforts to create such kind of riots in the state. Do you know anything about it?
- The police and the administration should try to create harmony and harmony by removing the prejudice created by this riot in various caste-religious communities.
The delegation, Bharatiya Lok Andolan representatives offered full cooperation with the
Administration to maintain peace, provide psychological and social support to common people.
The Bharatiya Lok Andolan will also try to establish such reconciliation committees with the cooperation of local people and realize the right of common citizens to live safely in the future. It will also be active to awaken the basic principles of the constitution and the thoughts of Rajshree Shahu.
The representation may be read here: