Maharashtra: Kolhapur returning to normalcy, 36 people arrested so far, say police

Violence broke out over alleged use of Tipu Sultan's image in a social media post

PTI06_07_2023_000175A Security personnel chase away people protesting against the alleged use of Tipu Sultans image in objectionable social media posts, in Kolhapur district | PTI

The situation in Maharashtra's Kolhapur is gradually returning to normal, a day after violence during a demonstration against the alleged use of Tipu Sultan's image along with an objectionable audio message as social media status by a few locals, a senior police official said on Thursday.

At least 36 people have so far been arrested and cases registered in connection with the violence, he said. Businessmen opened their establishments and people were seen buying items of daily need from shops in Kolhapur city.

Tension gripped the city on Tuesday after two men allegedly put 18th-century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan's image along with an offensive audio message as their social media "status".

Wielding lathis, police on Wednesday dispersed hundreds of protesters after they hurled stones during a demonstration at Shivaji Chowk against the alleged use of Tipu Sultan's image. The situation was brought under control on Wednesday afternoon, and district guardian minister Deepak Kesarkar held a meeting of a peace committee in the evening, Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Mahendra Pandit said.

Members from various organisations and communities pledged to maintain peace in the city, he said. "Precautionary measures have been taken, with police deployment in sensitive areas of the city and district along with the ongoing patrolling," he said.

Asked about the situation in the city, Pandit said, "The situation is gradually returning to normal. Shops in the main market area have started reopening." He said three cases have been registered in connection with the riots that took place on Wednesday.

So far, 36 people have been arrested in connection with the violence, the official said. Additionally, five cases have been registered by police in the district pertaining to objectionable posts. Five persons, including juveniles, have been detained in two of these cases, the police said.

Minister Kesarkar has instructed the administration to set up separate peace committees comprising members of all communities to ensure peaceful celebration of all festivals in Kolhapur, as per a release of the district administration.

He has also directed for the formation of an independent committee to prevent any communal discord in the city, the release said.

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