Politics

Professor Arrested for Questioning Why Shivaji Jayanti is Celebrated Twice a Year

Sunil Waghmare was first beaten up by college students and colleagues for his comment and then arrested by police for hurting religious sentiments.

People celebrate Shivaji Jayanti in Gurugram. Credit: PTI/File Photo

People celebrate Shivaji Jayanti in Gurugram. Credit: PTI/File Photo

A commerce professor at KMC College in Khopoli, Maharashtra, Sunil Waghmare, was arrested on Wednesday for questioning why Shivaji Jayanti is celebrated twice on a Whatsapp group, the Times of India reported.

Waghmare commented on the group, consisting of fellow professors and other college staff on Tuesday night, March 21 which led to him being beaten up by some of the college’s students and even professors before some of the group’s administrators lodged a formal complaint against him under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code saying he had hurt their religious sentiments.

The police, which first arrived on the scene to protect the professor eventually ended up arresting him.

Professor Amol Nagargoje, one of the complainants told Mid-Day, “He is senior faculty and I know him since 2012. That night on WhatsApp, when he made the comment, I asked him to take back his words but he refused. So, I decided to delete the group altogether. On Friday, when I was in the staff room, I got to know that he was attacked. Later, because I was the admin of the group, I was asked by the police to register the complaint”.

While Waghmare has been released on bail, a policeman told the Times of India, “Several outfits forced the KMC College management to suspend Waghmare. A chargesheet will be filed soon.”

Waghmare’s question has apparently proven to be so offensive that Maratha Swarajya Samajik Sanstha president Sagar More has lodged a complaint with the Khopoli police against him.

Veteran journalist and author Sujata Anandan explained to Scroll that, “Broadly, it is known that Shivaji was born in the spring, but no one can really say for certain in which month or year.”

While some historical accounts estimate that Shivaji was born in the Hindu month of Chaitra on April 6, 1627, others think he was born in the month of Phalgun on February 19, 1630.

In February, the Asian Age reported that Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai wrote to Maharashtra’s chief minister and the minister for culture arguing that the event should be celebrated on the date corresponding to the Marathi calendar only and not the officially designated date of February 19, although many people continue to celebrate Shivaji Jayanti in accordance with the Marathi calendar.

  • K SHESHU BABU

    This is another instance of trampling freedom of expression. Harassing and arresting professors , whether saibaba or waghmore, reflects the intolerance of the rulers and their supporters.

  • Naresh

    Nature in its creation has created no 2 person similar in every respect, as it want diversity & individuality to every group & individual its unique identity. But our neo nationalist Hindutavwadi think utherwise, what they say must be accepted by all as truth, even if it is total wrong as per knowledge. In the circumstances asking question is worst crime, as their wrong will come out. However they feel free to question others, their beliefs & even scientifically or historically proven facts. Situation is akin to what Nazis created in Germany, Facist in Itly, Zionist, Taliban or Al-Kayada or ISIS etc.