Social media controversy ignites protests in Kolhapur


In Maharashtra’s Kolhapur city, tensions flared up over the use of an image of 18th-century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan alongside a controversial audio message as social media status by local individuals. Protesters took to the streets, culminating in a violent confrontation that forced police to resort to lathi charge on Wednesday.
Local authorities, foreseeing the potential for extended unrest, have proposed the suspension of internet services from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday evening, depending on the situation. Additional personnel from the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) have been deployed, and further reinforcement is being sought from nearby Satara.
To maintain law and order, prohibitory orders have been issued until June 19, banning the assembly of five or more individuals. This action was taken after right-wing activists demanded legal action against the individuals responsible for the controversial post, leading to the registration of a case and the arrest of seven individuals after continued protests.
Despite assurances from Kolhapur Superintendent of Police, Mahendra Pandit, regarding the measures taken against the offensive post and calls for public calm, demonstrations persisted, leading to use of force and teargas by the police.
Amidst these tensions, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis questioned the coincidence of certain political statements warning of possible riots and the subsequent public display of images of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan. He emphasised that acts of glorifying figures like Aurangzeb would not be tolerated inMaharashtra and suggested that the current situation required a deeper investigation to identify those responsible for the provocation.
Meanwhile, local leaders have urged the community to uphold Kolhapur’s progressive reputation and cooperate with authorities to resolve issues through dialogue. State officials are poised to maintain law and order, and have expressed their commitment to identifying and taking action against the individuals responsible for inciting unrest. The situation continues to evolve as officials monitor closely and respond to any potential escalations