Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA and former Maharashtra Minister, Jitendra Awhad, has stoked a new controversy by calling Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb “not a Hindu hater”.
In a bid to defend Maharashtra Leader of Opposition, Ajit Pawar’s Friday remarks on Chhattrapati Sambhaji, Awhad brought up the Mughal ruler during his interaction with the media on Monday. Awhad said that in the earlier days Maratha was not a caste but a “dharma that was followed” and taken forward by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, after Pawar had in the state assembly said that the Maratha king (Sambhaji Maharaj) had never upheld dharma or religion in his life.
“Sambhaji Maharaj laid the foundation of dharma and it was not a caste,” he said.
“He (Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj) was brought to Bahadurgad where his eyes were removed. Close to Bahadurgad Fort, there was a Vishnu Temple. Aurangzeb was cruel but not anti-Hindu. If he was anit-Hindu he would have demolished that temple too (Vishnu Temple),” Awhad addressing a press conference on Monday said.
He referred to history and said Aurangzen had killed his brothers, and father. He was cruel. However, he said regular historical references should be avoided
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said that Aurangzeb destroyed many temples in Maharashtra and tortured women.
“NCP is insulting Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj and praising Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb destroyed many temples in Maharashtra and tortured women,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Last year, Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari caused an uproar as he referred to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as an “old icon”.
In December, the tripartite coalition of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) launched a protest march, across Mumbai, against the ruling Eknath Shinde government and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s remarks on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, and senior leaders from Congress, and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) led a march from Navi Mumbai, Raigadh, Pune and other parts to Mumbai attacking the Eknath Shinde government.
They also said: “The people of Maharashtra will not tolerate anything said against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Savitribai Phule and other great personalities. Our message to the Shinde govt is that they shouldn’t try to change the history of the state.”