Pune: Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide on Sunday called for renaming Ahmednagar district as Ambikanagar.
“Say Ambikanagar and not Ahmednagar while taking the name of this district. We should be proud to be Hindus,” the octogenarian leader said at a programme in Ahmednagar’s Tilak Road.
Mr. Bhide, who heads Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, is accused of inciting the Bhima-Koregaon clashes on January 1.
The district, part of Nashik division, takes its name from Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah, who founded the township of Ahmednagar and later the Nizamshahi sultanate in the early 1490s C.E.
“Every Hindu should be well-versed in our epics and should take pride in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the history of the Marathas,” he said.
Mr. Bhide addressed two events in Ahmednagar and Nashik districts, amid opposition from Ambedkarite groups and Left parties, leading to tension at both venues. Both events witnessed robust police deployment.
The meetings were held to discuss the Hindutva leader’s plan to mount a golden throne at Raigad in honour of Maratha Warrior King Shivaji.
According to Mr. Bhide, the object is to recreate the throne of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj during the heyday of the Maratha kingdom in the late 1670s, which was allegedly destroyed by Aurangzeb’s generals during the 1689 siege of the fort.
The Hindutva leader said the contributions for the project will be coming from Shivbhakts (admirers of Shivaji) and not in the form of government aid. He further said 2,000 Shivbhakts will stand guard near the throne which is to be completed within 15 months.
“One needs swords to defend a throne…in the future, those guarding it ideally ought to be given swords in their hands…but then, certain people and groups would decry my call as an act against democracy,” Mr. Bhide said.
Earlier in the day, Dalit outfits took out an ‘Elgaar Morcha’ to protest against Mr. Bhide’s event in the city.