Statue's removal creates controversy, violence in Pune

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Pune:  A political controversy over a statue in Pune led to violence today as Opposition parties in the city attacked the Mayor's office.  The mayor's chair was thrown onto the road from a window on the fourth floor.

A statue of Dadoji Konddev, considered the 'guru' of Chhatrapati Shivaji, was removed from Pune's Lal Mahal this morning and placed in a municipal garden by the Pune Municipal Corporation.  The Maratha community believes that a section of historians have misrepresented Dadoji Kondadev as Shivaji's teacher. 

The Opposition- in particular the Shiv Sena has objected to this. The Sena has called for a bandh on Tuesday in protest.  Executive President Uddhav Thackeray said it was "unfortunate" that the Pune Municipal Corporation removed the statue of Dadoji Konddev if it were the statue of a "terrorist". 

Uddhav's estranged cousin, Raj Thackeray, also voiced the objections of his party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). 

Lal Mahal, in the heart of Pune, was the childhood home of Chhatrapati Shivaji and currently has statues of a young Shivaji and his mother, Jijabai. The municipal corporation plans to plans to add a statue of Shivaji's father, Shahaji Maharaj, to replace the one that was removed today.   

"What reason will you give when you are asked why the statue of Dadoji Konddev was removed? What was the harm if Shahaji's statue was installed along with Dadoji and Shivaji?" asked Raj.  He also accused the Congress-NCP alliance of "playing caste politics" by relocating the statue. (Read: 'Caste politics' over statue: Raj Thackeray)
    
"According to history, Dadoji Konddev entered Shivaji's life when he was seven years old," Raj said, threatening that his party will consider launching a massive agitation over the issue.




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