Sena rampage over statue removal brings Pune to a standstill

The agitators damaged about eight city buses and tried to disrupt rail traffic at Lonavala.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Shiv Sena-BJP’s bandh in Pune called to protest the removal of Shivaji`s guru Dadoji Konddev’s statue from Lal Mahal turned violent on Tuesday, with party activists blocking rail and road traffic.

Apart from damaging about eight city buses, the agitators also tried to disrupt rail traffic at Lonavala on Mumbai-Pune section of the Central Railway, sources said.

Among the trains stopped at Lonavala were Sinhagadh Express and Indore Express.

The saffron alliance had given a call for bandh today after NCP-Congress ruled Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) removed the statue of Dadoji from the sculpture at "Lal Mahal" yesterday, pursuant to a resolution passed by the civic body to that effect.

The decision followed a persistent demand for a pro-Maratha outfit "Sambhaji Brigade".

Police who have stepped up security measures in the city and district, detained some Sena workers as preventive measure.

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray had yesterday slammed the NCP for removal of Dadoji Konddev’s statue and called for the bandh today as a mark of protest.

In a statement, Uddhav described as "unfortunate" that the Pune Municipal Corporation removed the statue of Dadoji Konddev, considered a "guru" of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, like it is of a `terrorist`.

"Congress-NCP government should take quick decisions like this for unauthorised constructions in Pune including Lavasa," he said.

Uddhav said NCP was giving undue importance to organisations like Sambhaji Brigade which objects to the reference of Konddev as Shivaji`s guru. "This is all NCP politics for 2012 civic polls," he charged.