After a political row over the grave of Aurangzeb in Aurangabad, the Maharashtra government has increased security around the tomb of Afzal Khan in the Satara area of Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

In a conversation with ANI today, Satara Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar Bansal said, “Afzal Khan’s tomb has been a restricted area since 2005. It’s having the restriction of section 144 of CrPC. An additional police force has been deployed at the spot.”

“Additional Police force deployment to the spot was part of a routine process in which the force visits all sensitive places in the district to assess the security arrangements there. This time, an assessment by forces was made in Mahabaleshwar where they visited Pratapgarh and Afzal Khan’s tomb,” he said.

The ongoing row started after AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi recently paid tributes at the tomb of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Khuldabad. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which has been demanding a ban on loudspeakers in mosques, condemned the move and asked the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra to take action against Owaisi while warning to take ‘action’ on its own.

Raj Thackeray on Sunday said at a rally, “Afzal Khan who was killed by our Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. His tomb is there and is being offered flower garlands on his grave by the people of a particular community. The Maharashtra government is sitting quietly on this issue. If the state government does not demolish this grave, then MNS party workers will demolish it soon.”

Amid the controversy over an AIMIM leader’s recent visit to Mughal ruler Aurangzeb’s tomb in Aurangabad city of Maharashtra, the MNS chief appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre to change the name of Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar and to bring the Uniform Civil Code.

Thackeray also took a swipe at NCP chief Sharad Pawar who had addressed a rally braving rain before the Maharashtra Assembly polls in 2019. Thackeray said, “We were planning a gathering in an open space, but considering the possibility of rain, we decided to hold it indoors.”

He further stepped up an attack against the NCP chief and said “If Sharad Pawar feels that Aurangzeb is a Sufi saint, what can I say? Apparently, Afzal Khan didn’t come to kill Shivaji Maharaj. He had only come to expand his kingdom. Then, did Shivaji Maharaj come in between? Why are you changing history for your convenience?”

Historically, Mughal ruler Aurangzeb was constantly building pressure on Adil Shahi to go for a war against Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and defeat him. Shahi sent Afzal Khan, who was a general who served the Adil Shahi dynasty.

In 1659, despite being outnumbered and outgunned by Afzal Khan’s men, Shivaji led his army to victory over the troops of the Bijapur Sultanate, in what came to be known as the Battle of Pratapgarh. This triumph marks the beginnings of the Maratha Empire. Synonymous with Marathi pride since then, Shivaji became a household name. (ANI)