Violence gripped Sangli for the second day after Hindutva activists forcibly tried to stop the screening of controversial film Jodhaa Akbar. On Thursday, mobs set two police outposts on fire, and heavy stone pelting across the district brought it to a standstill.
On Wednesday, agitations against the film led by Shivpratap, an outfit floated by former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s full-timer Sambhaji Bhide (80), popularly known as Bhide Guruji, had turned violent after Bhide was assaulted in a lathi-charge ordered by Sangli Superintendent of Police Krishna Prakash. With news of the assault, Bhide’s supporters went on the rampage, pelting stones.
On Thursday, youth mobs across Sangli targeted police outposts and personnel. A police outpost in the Khan Baug area and another in Digraj, 10 km from Sangli were set alight. As many as 20 State Transport buses and seven police vehicles were damaged in the pelting. Deputy Superintendent of Police Ashok Dudhe, six other police officials, and Tehsildar Vaishali Jadhav were among those injured. According to the police, 30 people were injured in the lathicharge while 60 were arrested by late evening.
Class 12 students appearing for board exams were the worst affected, as bus services were disrupted and streets marred with violence. Additional police force was deployed at all the examination centres but most students were late for exams.
Bhide, who was hospitalised after the lathi-charge on Wednesday, has held Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil responsible for the situation. Youth supporters of Bhide demanded registration of an offence against Prakash.