Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati, a member of the former Maratha royal family of Kolhapur, on Sunday claimed police stopped Shivaji Maharaj's followers from going to the Shivneri Fort in Pune, on the occasion of the warrior king's birth anniversary, given the visit of some VIPs.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who visited the fort along with Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, said they would take steps so that the followers of Shivaji Maharaj do not face any hurdles while visiting the Shivneri Fort next year.
Shivaji Maharaj was born at the Shivneri Fort in 1630.
Former Rajya Sabha member Sambhaji Chhatrapati, who could not attend the official function at the Shivneri Fort on Sunday, claimed several “Shiv bhakts” were stopped by police in the wake of the visit of some VIPs to the fort.
Addressing a gathering at the fort, he said, “When I was near the fort, some Shiv bhakts approached me and complained of police restricting them from visiting the fort. They told me that police were objecting to their visit, citing crowding which may lead to an untoward incident such as a stampede.”
“This is highly unfair. The followers of Shiv bhakts should not face any discrimination when it comes to visiting the Shivneri Fort. Had I gone ahead, people would have followed me and this could have led to a stampede,” he added.
CM Shinde while addressing a function on the Shivaji Jayanti said he has heard Sambhaji Chhatrapati's comments.
"We will take necessary steps so that people do not face any hurdles next year when it comes to visiting the Shivneri Fort,” he said.
Deputy CM Fadnavis also said there will be better arrangements next year to manage the crowd properly. "We will soon hold a meeting on this,” he said.
Nationalist Congress Party Lok Sabha member Amol Kolhe, in whose constituency the Shivneri Fort is located, said there should be a permanent "saffron flag" hoisted on the Shivneri Fort.
"I am starting a 'Bhagwa Janeev' agitation, which is aimed at sensitising people about this demand. Hoisting a flag on the fort should not face any kind of objection,” he said.