The Maharashtra PUCL has condemned the communal violence that erupted in Kolhapur on June 8 and the preceding caste-killing of youth in Nanded on June 2 and urged the state government and police to take urgent measures for restoring peace and harmony in the state, here on Saturday.
The PUCL Chairman Mihir Desai and General Secretary Lara Jesani also expressed concern over the manner in which vested interests are spreading hatred and inciting caste-communal violence with impunity in the state.
“These are just the latest in a series of incidents of violence against religious minorities, Dalits and tribals in the state… and stoking caste and communal conflicts in Maharashtra,” said Desai and Jesani.
They referred to the killing of a Dalit youth, Akshay Sharavan Bhalerao by nine persons as he had organized a rally to celebrate the anniversary of Dr B. R. Ambedkar in Bhondar (Nanded) on April 30.
The PUCL also highlighted how on June 7, a large number of people owing allegiance to various Hindutva organizations gathered at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Chowk in Kolhapur following a shutdown call in protest against social media posts of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and the Mysore King Tipu Sultan.
The Sakal Hindu Samaj also took out a rally in Sangamner town of Ahmednagar where hate speeches were reportedly made to incite violence against Muslims, followed by stone-pelting incidents.
Earlier on May 28, there was a communal clash in Sangamner, Akola, and Shevgaon (Ahmednagar) were also rocked by violence on May 15-16, and the Hazrat Peer Shahduddin Khattalshahwali Dargah in the Panhalgad Fort of Kolhapur was also vandalized on May 24.
“Divisive forces are making all attempts to break peoples’ unity. But in the Panhalgad incident, people from both communities immediately came forward to repair the damage and ensured that peace prevailed,” said Desai.
Jesani added that despite court orders, these (Hindutva) organizations operated with impunity to provoke violence and instability and are a fallout of the inaction by the police and state to prevent hate speeches, book offenders and maintain law and order.
The PUCL also condemned the utterances by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ on “sons of Aurangzeb” attempting to disrupt the law and order and said that such remarks stereotype members of one community and further vitiate the atmosphere while deflecting attention from the real perpetrators of violence.
The civil rights organization has also demanded that Bhalerao’s killing case should be given to a fast-track court, protection to witnesses, and compensation to the victim’s family.
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