In a disturbing incident that can snowball into a major controversy, an alleged right-wing mob attacked a Sunday Mass in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur. The incident took place on December 23 in Kolhapur’s Chandgad taluka. According to news agency ANI, the police have formed five teams to track down the 10-12 unidentified accused involved in the incident. The police teams have been sent to Karnataka’s Belgaum to locate the accused. According to Deputy SP Anil Kadam of Kolhapur, 10-12 people attacked Sunday prayer mass being held at the premises of a local resident Bhimsen Chavan in Kolhapur, the news agency said on Twitter.
Media reports said that the mob attacked the devotees with iron rods, hockey sticks, stones and bottles. According to Times Now, as many as four people have suffered head injuries. The report also said that the accused came on 10 motorbikes and it was impossible to identify them as all of them had their faces covered with the masks. Reacting to the incident, Maharashtra Congress leader K rahman Khan said that the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government was acting like right-wing groups such as Bajrang Dal and Ram Sena. According to a ‘The Wire’ report, the cops have filed case against attackers under Indian Penal Code Section 147 (punishment for rioting), Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), Section 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with the intent to insult the religion of any class), Section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), and Section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt).
Maharashtra has witnessed several incidents of mob violence. Violence had erupted in Pune on January 1 when schedule caste groups were marking the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the British defeated the Peshwas of Maharashtra. Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community were part of the East India Company's forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of Dalit assertiveness.