Youth arrested in connection with statue desecration

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Kolhapur, Nov 7 (UNI) A youth was arrested on charges of allegedly desecrating a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in a travel agency booking office in the central bus stand area of the city.

The arrested youth, identified as Faizul Shaikh, hails from Bangalore and was at present working in the city as an auto rickshaw driver, police said today.

Last night, Faizul purchased a ticket for Hubli from Mahesh motors travel agency, but seeing the condition of the bus he started abusing the agency manager, ransacked the office and damaged the material there, including a statue of Shivaji Maharaj placed on the office table.

The news of desecration of the statue spread like wildfire in the area and activists of the Shiv Sena, BJP and other 'sanghatanas' gathered at the spot and resorted to ''rasta roko'' to register their protest late last night.

Faizul, after vandalising the agency office, disappeared from the site. Police subsequently found him near the S T bus stand early this morning.

They arrested him and a case has been registered under Section 295 and 427 of IPC, police added.

Activists of the Shiv Sena and BJP gathered at the city's Shivaji Statue area and took out a 'morcha' to protest the incident.

They have called for 'Kolhapur bandh' on Monday and also threatened to take action against those who try to apply for bail on Faizul's behalf or engage a lawyer for him.

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