Facing pressure from local residents and Hindutva activists over WhatsApp statuses praising Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, two families have been allegedly compelled to leave their homes – in Hatkanangale tehsil of Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district over the last week.
Two FIRs have been filed so far against those who put up these updates while a third complaint may be referred to another police station for registration of a case. The accused in one case is in custody while the one named in the second case remains untraceable.
This comes amid a political controversy in Maharashtra over the renaming of Aurangabad – the latest addition to a growing list of Urdu-sounding spots retitled across the country amid demands by Hindutva voices.
First FIR, ‘assault and exit’
In the first case on March 17, Mohammad Momeen, a 19-year-old resident from Savarde village who sells jute bardana bags, was booked in an FIR, which alleged that his WhatsApp status was put up with an “intention to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus”. The complaint was filed by Parshuram Chavhan, associated with the BJP and the Sambhaji Bhide-led Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, at the Vadgaon police station in Hatkanangale.
The status, put up a day before, read, “Tum naam toh badal loge, lekin itihaas naa badal paaoge. Woh pahaad aaj bhi gawah hai, iss shahr ka badshah kaun tha aur kaun hai; Aurangzeb Aalamgeer.” You can change a name but you will not be able to change history. The hills stand witness to who was and is the king of this city; Aurangzeb Aalamgeer…