MUMBAI — Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis faces serious threats to his life from certain pro-Hindutva elements, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar claimed Jan. 10.
To justify his contention, Ambedkar pointed to a Facebook post by one Raosaheb Patil who he says is a "close aide" of Sambhaji V. Bhide, president of Shri Shiv Pratisthan Hindustan, a pro-Hindutva ultra-right organization in western Maharashtra.
Raosaheb Patil's post at 10:12 p.m. Jan. 1 terms Fadnavis, his ministerial colleague Girish Bapat and former journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni as "insects" who could be "chopped off."
"If you fall short of figures for Koregaon-Bhima, you are free to chop off Girish Bapat, Devendra Fadnavis, Sudheendra Kulkarni, I shall have no objections. They are insects infesting the country and the state," Raosaheb Patil's post said.
Incidentally, the comment was posted the same day the Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune was rocked by caste riots that killed a 28-year-old youth from Nanded, Ambedkar told media persons here.
Working as an "assistant at Balaji Motion Pictures," Raosaheb Patil has described himself as a "staunch Shiv Sainik" and follower of the ideologies of late Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
His Facebook profile displays pictures of the late Thackeray, Bhide and Chhatrapati Shivaji. Interestingly, the Shiv Sena is a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Center and a major partner in the Maharashtra alliance.
Ambedkar, who led a successful Maharashtra shutdown Jan. 3 that claimed the life of a schoolboy – also from Nanded – has targeted Bhide and another pro-Hindutva leader from Pune, Milind Ekbote, for the Koregaon-Bhima riots and demanded their arrest and prosecution on murder charges.
Asked whether he would take a proactive stand and lodge a police complaint or other similar action, Ambedkar said he will meet Fadnavis Jan. 11 and hand over material he has gathered in this context.
As to whether this points to a resurgence of the so-called Hindutva terror that came to the fore 10 years ago with the Malegaon bomb blasts, Ambedkar chose to give a diplomatic reply.
"These are the extremist right-wing forces and groups which are not being controlled by the ruling Hindutva leadership. The question is, when they speak of 'Hindutva,' do we really need such type of extreme Hindutva in our country?" Ambedkar told IANS.
Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of the Indian Constitution's architect B.R. Ambedkar, said the police commissioner and superintendent of police in Pune and other officials such as the Intelligence Department chief should be shunted out immediately to 'decorative posts.'
"I am certain this intelligence (on threats to the CM) was gathered, but whether it was passed on to the Home Department, headed by Fadnavis, is not known," Ambedkar added.
On claims that Raosaheb Patil is a staunch Shiv Sainik, he felt "it may or may not be true or it could probably be used as a decoy."
"There are several Hindu fundamentalist organizations and groups in the country – some are scrutinized while many others are not," he said.
There has been no reaction from the BJP or the chief minister's office to Prakash Ambedkar's statements so far.