National

Shops Closed In Pune as Part Of Shut-Down To Protest Comments Against Shivaji Maharaj

Most shops and businesses remained closed in Pune city on Tuesday morning in response to a call for `bandh' (shut-down) given by opposition parties to protest comments against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and other iconic leaders of the state.

Shiv Sena protests against state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari over his remarks on Shivaji in Pune
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While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra has not supported the bandh call, its Rajya Sabha member Udayanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, joined a silent march organized by the protesters.
       
The march began from Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj's statue and would end at the Lal Mahal in the city.
     
Shiv Sena leader Sushma Andhare also participated in the march.
                
The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Sambhaji Brigade and some other outfits are supporting the bandh.
         
The bandh call was originally given to protest Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's controversial statement at a public function where he described Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha empire, as an "icon of olden times".
         
Last week state minister and BJP leader Chandrakant Patil's statement that Dr B R Ambedkar and social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule "begged" to  people for money to start educational institutions instead of seeking government aid was also perceived as insulting, and drew protests.
        
Earlier, BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi's statement that Shivaji Maharaj had `apologised' to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had evoked angry reactions in the state.

The Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Pune also remained closed on Tuesday.

A local traders' body has extended support to the bandh by keeping the shops closed till 3 pm.
        
Officials of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal said that most of its buses were plying on the roads. Only 10 percent buses were pulled off the roads, an official said.

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