Pune: George Orwell once famously said, in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Unfortunately a section of media which is assigned with the job of revealing facts to the people is thriving largely on rumors. The latest instance of which is the rumors reported in a section of the media as well social media in the background of Koregaon-Bhima riots created tension across the state.
The rumours circulated in the media as well as social media regarding the desecration of the samadhi of community icon Govind Gopal or Govind Gopal Bhaguji Nigoji by the people of another community at Vadhu Budruk village is cited as the reason behind the initiation of clashes at Koregaon-Bhima.
However, according to police, the samadhi was never desecrated and the conflict initiated after removal of an umbrella and a banner describing the death of Sambhaji Maharaj, son of Chhatrapati Shivaji and how he was cremated by Govind Gopal despite the threats of Aurangzeb.
A case of atrocity was filed against 50 locals of Vadu Budruk including the sarpanch after a complaint was filed at Shikrapur police station by a member of another group on December 29, 2017.
Ramesh Galande, PI of Shikrapur police station, said, on December 29, some members of a particular community displayed a banner within the perimeters of the samadhi of Sambhaji Maharaj and Govind Gopal Bhaguji Nigoji.
“The banner described the death of Sambhaji and how Govind Gopal conducted his funeral despite the threats of the Mughal ruler and no member of the community of Maratha king came forward. The banner was displayed in the morning and was taken out by some villagers at 10.30 am; they also removed the umbrella on the samadhi after which a complaint was registered by a girl of another community against 50 villagers.”
“It an utter lie that the samadhi of Govind Gopal was desecrated or damaged by someone. The local villagers of a community didn’t like the banner displayed by another community and removed it. It was removed by them as the banner was showing them in a poor light,” added Galande.
A local at Vadhu Budruk on condition of anonymity, said, “The banner displayed near the samadhi described how Sambhaji Maharaj was tortured to death. It described that Govind Gopal was the person who gathered his mutilated body and conducted his funeral despite the threats of Aurangzeb. The banner stated that no member from Sambhaji Maharaj’s community came forward to conduct his last rites as they were afraid. The banner was quite provocative and was removed by the locals of the villagers after which a case of atrocity was registered against them.”
An IPS rank official of Pune rural police (requesting anonymity said), “The tension was created over the poster and rumours were then circulated that the samadhi was damaged. We immediately registered a complaint against the 50 villagers who allegedly removed the poster. But rumours got circulated and things got tense.”