Aurangzeb was cruel but not anti-Hindu: NCP leader Jitendra Awhad
NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad said, "Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was taken to Bahadurgad, where his eyes were removed. There was a Vishnu Temple near Bahadurgad Fort. Aurangzeb was cruel, but he was not anti-Hindu. If he had been anti-Hindu, he would have also demolished the temple (Vishnu Temple)."
In a bit to defend Maharashtra Leader of Opposition (LoP) Ajit Pawar's remarks on Chhatrapati Sambhaji, Nationalist Congres Party (NCP) MLA and former Maharashtra Minister Jitendra Awhad bought up the Mughal ruler during his interaction with media on Monday.
LoP Ajit Pawar, in the state assembly, said that the Maratha King (Sambhaji Maharaj) had never upheld dharma or religion in his life.
Citing Pawar's comments, Awhad said, "In earlier days, Maratha was not a caste, but a 'dharma that was followed' and taken forward by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj." In addition, he said, "Sambhaji Maharaj laid the foundation of dharma, and it was not a caste."
While addressing the press, Awhad said, "Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was taken to Bahadurgad, where his eyes were removed. There was a Vishnu Temple near Bahadurgad Fort. Aurangzeb was cruel, but he was not anti-Hindu. If he had been anti-Hindu, he would have also demolished the temple (Vishnu Temple)."
Furthermore, referring to history, Awhad said that Aurangzeb had killed his brothers and father, and he was cruel. He did, however, advise against making frequent historical references.
In response, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said that Aurangzeb destroyed many temples and tortured women in Maharashtra.
CM Shinde said, "The NCP is insulting Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj and praising Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb demolished many temples and tortured women in Maharashtra."
Previously, Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari sparked controversy as he referred to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as an 'old icon'.
Following this, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) called for a protest march in Mumbai in December against the ruling Eknath Shinde government and Governor Bhagat Shing Koshyari's remark.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and senior leaders from Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) led a march from Navi Mumbai, Raigadh, Pune, and other cities to Mumbai to protest against the Eknath Shinde government.
They said, "The people of Maharashtra will not tolerate anything said against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Dr Savitribai Phule, or other great personalities. Our message to the Shinde administration is that they should not attempt to change the state's history."