Many people in Maharashtra have long been insisting on better security features at the many forts that dot the state. When the sword in the hands of a Chhatrapati Shivaji statue at the Raigad Fort was found damaged on Saturday, tension in the area rose palpably.
According to media reports, the police on Saturday reported that a four-inch portion of the sword that was part of Shivaji's statue had been broken off.
Maloji Jagdale, a history enthusiast and coordinator of the World Heritage Project for forts in Maharashtra, told Pune Mirror:
"The sword measures around 40 inches in length and nearly 10 inches have vanished. The place where the sword rests on the statue appears to have been dented, which indicates that a heavy, blunt object was used to pry the sword loose. It looks like a deliberate attempt, since the structure was not flimsy at all."
A sculptor from Kolhapur has already been given the commission to repair the sword.
News of the incident led to some tension in Maharashtra's Kolhapur district. A large crowd gathered at the Shivaji chowk area in Kolhapur on Saturday and demanded action against the culprits.
An offence under IPC section 379 (theft) and relevant provisions of the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act has been registered by the Mahad police in Raigad, which is located near Mumbai.
Similar incidents have taken place in Maharashtra in the past, where forts, usually located in the hills, have been vandalised and artefacts kept there stolen.
In a bid to address the theft and illegal trade of such valuable artefacts, several history enthusiasts have begun documenting them. Upon documentation, they intend to submit a report to the state archaeology department.
(With inputs from PTI)
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