The 'Shiv Pratap Din' was celebrated every year at Pratapgad since 1996 by Pratapgad Utsav Samiti.
Getting into Opposition’s role in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena yesterday asked the BJP government in the state to allow a “grand celebration” to mark the killing of Mughal commander Afzal Khan by Shivaji Maharaj, an important chapter in Maratha history.
An annual function to mark the event at Pratapgad Fort in Satara district, the place where the slaying took place in 17th century, had been stopped since 2004, but Sena wants it to be revived and held at a mega level.
“The “Shiv Pratap Din” (as the day is called) was celebrated every year at Pratapgad since 1996 by Pratapgad Utsav Samiti to mark Shivaji’s bravery in killing Afzal Khan,” senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote told reporters at Vidhan Bhawan.
The celebrations were called off in 2004 after the Congress-NCP Government imposed restrictions around the fort following an agitation by VHP against presence of Khan’s grave at Pratapgad, he said.
“Now that a BJP Government, which invoked Shivaji Maharaj during poll campaign, has come to power, albeit not with a full majority, it becomes their duty to allow a grand celebration, being planned on November 28, to mark the event,” Raote said.
“We have asked the government to allow the Shiv Pratap Din celebrations on scale prior to 2004,” Samiti Working President Milind Ekbote said yesterday.
Ekbote also said the Samiti has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, inviting him to attend a function to honour Sambhaji Bhide Guruji, a former RSS activist, with the “Veer Jeeva Mahale” award.
Bhide is founder-President of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, an outfit with sizable following in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts of Western Maharashtra.
At an election rally in Tasgaon, Sangli district last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had referred to the Hindutva activist as one of his inspirations.
During the Assembly poll campaign, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had made a reference to Afzal Khan, the general of Bijapur’s Adil Shahi dynasty, and his army’s assault on Shivaji’s dominion, to hit out at BJP after the two parties parted ways.