Instructs State police to monitor Sambhaji Brigade’s activities

The Intelligence Bureau wants the State police to monitor the activities of the Sambhaji Brigade, a right-wing group in Maharashtra as it is suspected to be behind the violence that erupted in the State after morphed images of Shivaji Maharaj, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Bal Thackeray were posted on Facebook.

The IB input, shared with Maharashtra Police last week, points to the outfit’s possible involvement in the violence in western Maharashtra, which bore the burnt of the violence.

“If one studies the pattern of violence, it’s clear that it was concentrated only in the western belt, areas where the group has a strong presence,” a senior IB official told The Hindu.

“ After receiving the input, we are keeping a close watch on its members and especially their activities in cyber space,” a senior IPS officer from the Maharashtra Police told The Hindu on condition of anonymity

Over 30 Maharashtra Road State Transport Corporation buses were vandalised and more than 10 cases of stone-pelting were reported from Pune, Solapur, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Satara and Sangli districts in the last two weeks after the posts appeared on Facebook.

In January 2004, the Sambhaji Brigade hit the headlines for attacking the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune after American author James Laine, the author of Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, referred to the help he received from scholars there. The Congress-NCP government subsequently banned the book.

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