A statue of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was placed by some unidentified persons at a platform in a city-based garden where a bust of noted Marathi playwright Ram Ganesh Gadkari was vandalised two years ago, police said on Tuesday. The incident apparently took place around 3 am on Tuesday, Deccan Gymkhana police station's senior inspector Bhaskar Jadhav said.
A piece of paper was found at the site carrying a warning that if the statue was removed, there will be "consequences in the state", he said. The police later reached the site and removed the fibre statue of Sambhaji, who was the son of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, from the garden, he said.
Notably, Shiv Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was being celebrated across the state on Tuesday. "We have removed the statue from the garden to avoid any law and order issue. We are also contemplating to register a case against the person who barged into the garden which is maintained by the Pune Municipal Corporation," Jadhav said. The police were checking CCTV footages in the area and enquiring with the guards deployed at the garden, he said.
"We are trying to verify which organisation has done this," he said. Another police official said the name of 'Swabhiman Sanghatna' was written at the bottom of the paper carrying the warning message. On January 3, 2017, Marathi playwright and humorist late Ram Ganesh Gadkari's bust installed in the garden was vandalised and thrown into a river. Sambhaji Brigade, a pro-Maratha group, had then claimed responsibility for the vandalism, saying it was done in retaliation to the "poor portrayal" of Sambhaji in a play written by the 20th century litterateur.
(With inputs from agencies.)