According to officials, a man was detained by the police on Monday in Kagal town, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, for reportedly sharing a picture of Tipu Sultan, the 18th-century king of Mysore, on social media. The most recent arrest occurred in the wake of numerous violent occurrences in Kolhapur and Ahmednagar related to sharing photos of Tipu Sultan and the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb online.
According to an officer, the arrested person has been identified by the police as shopkeeper Farukh Asalkar. According to the Kolhapur district police, an image of Tipu Sultan was posted on Sunday evening on the social media account of the Kagal resident. The text, along with the image, said, ‘Bharat ka Sher, Shaheed Tipu Sultan (Tiger of India, Martyr Tipu Sultan)’, said a senior police officer.
Some Hindutva organisations met with the police and demanded action after the status update and related screenshots were widely posted on social media groups in Kagal and the neighbouring districts. Sanket Gosavi, Deputy Superintendent of Police for Karveer Division, Kolhapur district, told reporters, “Based on the initial investigation, we have arrested a 38-year-old who posted the image of Tipu Sultan. He is a resident of Kagal and runs a shop of daily need items.”
An action was taken because publishing a photo of Tipu Sultan amid numerous recent incidents could negatively impact social harmony, according to a senior officer from the Kolhapur district police. The officer said, “We urge the local community to exercise restraint on social media and public places. As a preemptive measure, we have deployed adequate police force in Kagal town and are keeping a close watch on the situation.”
Last week, after miscreants threw stones during a bandh organised by pro-Hindutva groups to demand action against some offensive social media posts, the police in Kolhapur city used a lathi charge and teargas to subdue the unruly crowd. Following the event, internet service was temporarily suspended throughout Kolhapur City for a day as a precaution. In connection with the riots, violence, and vandalism, the police detained several individuals.
The Kolhapur police had previously opened an investigation into several social media status updates that purportedly came from some young people and featured photographs of Tipu Sultan and offensive slogans in the form of audio. Police launched a case and detained seven people, including some juveniles, for posting inappropriate content after pro-Hindutva organisations reported the status updates.
Maharashtra: Stone pelting in Kolhapur over use of Tipu Sultan’s image with offensive audio as social media 'status'; police send proposal to suspend internethttps://t.co/rntoUGeV9C pic.twitter.com/T6OG52njwJ
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 7, 2023
On June 4, during a Urs procession of the Dam Bara Hazari Baba dargah in the Fakirwada neighbourhood of Ahmednagar, the same offensive slogans that Kolhapur residents used with their social media posts were chanted with a poster of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.