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Maharashtra: Structures around Afzal Khan’s Tomb Razed amid Tight Security

The bulldozer has become a symbol of brute state power in India and its discriminatory deployment is chillingly similar to that of Israel.

SATARA – The district administration in Maharashtra’s Satara on Thursday demolished certain constructions around the historic tomb of 17th century nobleman Afzal Khan in the Pratapgad Fort here, officials said.

The hilltop fort was the site of the famed Battle of Pratapgad which took place on November 10, 1659 between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Afzal Khan, a general of Bijapur’s ruler Sultan Adil Shahi. In that battle, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj killed Afzal Khan.

Interestingly, the demolition – pending for several years – came on the 363rd anniversary of the Battle of Pratapgad – celebrated as ‘Shiv Pratap Day’ by some local organisations – and tight police security was deployed to prevent any untoward incident.

Prohibitory orders were clamped in Pratapgarh, Mahabaleshwar, Wai, Karad and other towns in the district with Collector Ruchesh Jayavanshi and Superintendent of Police Sameer Shaikh personally monitoring the situation at the fort.

The structures, comprising several temporary and permanent ones, encroached upon Revenue and Forest Department lands around the tomb within the small mausoleum of Afzal Khan there.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will take up for hearing an urgent plea challenging the ongoing demolitions on an area of around 15,000-20,000 square feet carried out by the Revenue and Forest Department teams.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that in 2007, the Bombay High Court had ordered the razing of these illegal constructions, and when he was the CM in 2017, he had planned to demolish them but was delayed owing to certain legal hassles, but now it was being carried out. -IANS

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