The Shiv Sena on Sunday blamed the BJP-led Karnataka government for the removal of a bust of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Belgaum’s Mangutti village.
The bust of the Maratha warrior king was removed early on Saturday following which the Sena workers in Kolhapur had staged a demonstration against the Karnataka government.
“We condemn the way the statue of Maharaj was removed by the police at night. A few days ago, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj during the bhoomi pujan (ground-breaking ceremony) of Ram temple [at Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh]. And the government, led by the BJP, in Karnataka removes the statue at night,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. If required, the Sena cadre could go to Belgaum to protest against the removal of the bust, Raut said.
On Sunday, Sena and Congress workers, along with other organisations, also held a string of protests across the state.
Sena leader and state Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde on Saturday also wrote to Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa condemning the removal of the bust and requested its immediate reinstallation. “The statue was installed with the prior permission of the Mangutti gram panchayat, but the local administration has removed the statue deliberately with vengeance,” Shinde stated in the letter. Shinde also demanded action against those involved in it.
The BJP, meanwhile, said a local Congress legislator in the neighbouring state was involved in the removal of the bust. “We also condemn the removal of the statue. But the local Congress legislator played a role in the removal of the statue. Will the Sena protest against the Congress?” BJP leader Ashish Shelar asked.
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