Police in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur on Wednesday resorted to lathi charge to disperse a crowd that pelted stones during a protest against the alleged use of Tipu Sultan’s image along with an objectionable audio message as social media “status” by a few locals, an official said.
A proposal to suspend internet services from Wednesday afternoon till Thursday evening, or depending on the situation, has been sent to authorities, a senior police official said.
While personnel from the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) have been deployed in the city, police have sought more cops from Satara, he said.
Prohibitory orders have been issued till June 19 banning assembly of five or more persons, he said.
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Tension rose in 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”.
A group of right-wing activists demanded action against both men following which a case was registered against the two persons, said another official. Police registered another first information report (FIR) in the evening and arrested seven persons after more protests were held, the official said.
The protesters again hit the streets on Wednesday.
“Some organisations had called for a Kolhapur bandh and the members of these organisations gathered at Shivaji Chowk today. After their demonstration ended, the crowd began to disperse but some miscreants started pelting stones, forcing police to use force against these people to disperse them,” said Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Mahendra Pandit.
The SP said he informed the demonstrators about the action taken by police in the objectionable post case and appealed to them to maintain calm. He said force and teargas were used only after stones were hurled at houses and vehicles damaged.
Pandit said police have started tracing and detaining the miscreants.
Kolhapur Collector Rahul Rekhawar said the district is known for its progressive approach. “I appeal to all the people to ensure that the image of Kolhapur as a progressive district remains intact. I urge them not to believe in rumours,” he said.
The collector said the situation is under control and additional police forces have been brought in, even as he requested the public to cooperate with the authorities and resolve issues through dialogue.
Dipak Kesarkar, the guardian minister, said that action has been taken against those who had used Tipu Sultan’s image along with an objectionable audio message.