A row erupted in Telanganaâ€™s Kamareddy district after some unknown persons placed an idol of Chhatrapati Shivaji onto a pedestal that had been built to erect a statue of Basaveshwara. The Lingayat community in Madnoor mandal of Kamareddy district staged protests on Tuesday, September 6, demanding action against those who had placed the small idol on the pedestal, alleging that it was an attempt to trigger tension between the Maratha and the Lingayat community. Madnoor mandal is located close to the Karnataka-Maharashtra border.
The garlanded idol of the Maratha king was placed on the pedestal on Monday night, on the raised platform that had been built for the upcoming Basaveshwara statue. The Lingayat community members in Madnoor and Jukkal mandal staged protests in front of the Tehsildarâ€™s office and led a bike rally. They also staged a rasta roko and a sit-in protest in Madnoor â€” at NH 161 â€” for nearly two hours on Tuesday.
Mandal president of the Lingayat Samaj, Panditrao Patil, has demanded action against the unknown miscreants for trying to trigger a fresh rivalry between the two communities. He has also accused police of inaction despite complaints from the Lingayat community. Patil said that they have respect towards Shivaji but as worshippers of Basaveshwara, they had wanted to erect a statue at the spot.
Meanwhile, the police are trying to placate both communities and maintain law and order in the area. Bichkunda Circle Inspector Krishna and Madnoor Station Officer Shivakumar have held discussions with the Lingayat community, urging them to call off the protests and assuring them of action against the culprits.
SHO Madnoor Shivakumar told TNM that there was no permission either for the Basaveshwara statue or the Shivaji idol, and an investigation is underway into the incident. â€śThe said spot belongs to the Revenue Department. Neither of the two groups has permission to set up any statue or structure there. Today (Wednesday), revenue officials will be visiting the spot to conduct an inquiry into the matter,â€ť Shivakumar said, adding that revenue division officers and other officials will be holding a meeting between the Lingayat community, the Maratha community and the villagers in the mandal to resolve the issue amicably. â€śSo far, things are in order and necessary action will be taken,â€ť he added.
TNM had earlier reported on how there has been a sudden outpouring of support in Telangana â€” especially in the northern districts â€” for Chhatrapati Shivaji. Shivaji, the symbol of Maratha pride, is the tool that Hindutva groups in the state are using for their long-term political aspirations involving the Telugu-speaking dominant castes in these border districts.