Senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday expressed concern over the recent incidents of communal unrest witnessed in parts of Maharashtra, including Kolhapur.
Addressing an event held here to mark completion of 24 years of the NCP's formation, party MP Supriya Sule said these incidents were not good for democracy, while its state unit chief Jayant Patil claimed that creating communal unrest through social media was something that never happened in the past.
Tension gripped Kolhapur 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. The next day, the police had to disperse hundreds of protesters after they hurled stones during a demonstration in the city against the alleged use of Tipu Sultan’s image.
In Ahmednagar district, police registered a case against four persons for allegedly carrying posters of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb during a procession taken out on Sunday. The action was taken after a video of the incident went viral.
On Thursday, a teenage boy's alleged act of putting a social media status message glorifying Aurangzeb triggered tension in Ashti town of Beed district. Hindutva organisations called a 'bandh' in the town on Friday.
Referring to these incidents, Sule, who represents the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency in Pune district, said, "The situation is not good for democracy." Urging NCP workers to work towards reducing tension between communities, she said, "We will continue to fight for the development of Maharashtra and the country." She hailed the NCP workers, saying they were the "backbone" of the party.
"Several leaders have contributed to the growth of the party, some others have left, but the workers have been the backbone of the organisation," Sule noted.
Speaking on the occasion, NCP state chief Patil said, "Using social media to increase tension in the society is something that never happened in the past. We need to make efforts to make Maharashtra 'tantamukta' (dispute-free)." Sule remembered late party leader R R Patil, who was state home minister, and also former minister Nawab Malik, who is currently in jail in a money laundering case.
"I am sure next year Nawab bhai will be with us to hoist the flag at the party foundation day. Truth shall always prevail," she said.
The NCP, headed by veteran politician Sharad Pawar, is part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance that also comprises the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Congress. The alliance ruled the state from November 2019 to June 2022.
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