Amid protests, CM vows: Shivaji statue will stay | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Amid protests, CM vows: Shivaji statue will stay

In an obvious attempt to mollify angry protestors in his hometown of Nanded — and across the state — Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Saturday said the statue of Shivaji at the Mumbai international airport would not be moved.

mumbai Updated: Jul 11, 2010 02:48 IST
HT Correspondents

In an obvious attempt to mollify angry protestors in his hometown of Nanded — and across the state — Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Saturday said the statue of Shivaji at the Mumbai international airport would not be moved.

Chavan was speaking amid roadblocks in Nanded and statewide protests, a day after the Supreme Court upheld a Bombay High Court order quashing the state's ban on a controversial book on Maratha warrior king Shivaji.

His reference to the statue was in response to a request from Mumbai International Airport Limited, which wants the statue moved because it is blocking the airport's expansion.

But it failed to calm the protestors, who continued to slam the state for its failure to successfully ban the allegedly defamatory book by American author James Laine.

Meanwhile, the Opposition jumped on the bandwagon too.

Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Gopinath Munde said his party would not allow the controversial biography to be sold anywhere in the country and added: "Home Minister R.R. Patil has failed in his duty and should accept moral responsibility for it."

Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi added yet another angle to the debate, saying the book "had to be banned" but regretting that "the Shiv Sena and other parties did not opposite similar objectionable matter about Allah".

Even NCP Member of Parliament Udayanraje Bhosale's supporters joined in the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, in Yavatmal, Home Minister R.R. Patil's convoy was stopped by angry activists. Patil — the man behind the 2004 ban on Laine's book — told reporters his government would "amend the law if possible" to ensure that the book was not sold in Maharashtra.

In Satara, Shiv Sena workers told bookshop owners to report to them the names of those interested in buying the controversial Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India and Shiv Sena and RPI activists held demonstrations and organised a mock funeral procession for Laine. Local Sena activists also met bookshops owners and asked that they not stock the book.