Five days after vandalising Pune’s Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI), the Sambhaji Brigade today threatened of more unrest if action is not taken against historian James W. Laine, the author of a controversial book on warrior king Shivaji.
Calling themselves the ‘‘true sons of Shivaji’’, vociferous members of the Brigade met mediapersons and alleged that Laine’s book, Shivaji: The Hindu King in Islamic India, was part of a ‘‘larger conspiracy hatched by BORI”. ‘‘Bhandarkar institute got this scurrilous book written by Laine,’’ said Brigade spokesman Shreemant Kokate and added all those acknowledged by the author, a faculty member at a US university, be arrested. The Brigade also called for legal action against Laine and his publisher, the OUP.
Kokate threatened to launch agitation if the state government doesn’t take them seriously. Describing the BORI attack as an impromptu outburst of their feelings after they came to know about the blasphemous remarks against Jijabai, Shivaji’s mother, he said: ‘‘Even if BORI is burnt down ten thousand times, the insult inflicted upon Jijabai would not be mitigated.’’
The Brigade called for shutting down BORI as Laine had described it as his ‘‘scholarly home’’. Laine, he said, referred to certain jokes on Shivaji’s parentage. ‘‘Those who fed him with the offensive information should be hanged by the government. If the government is unable to do so they should be handed over to us,’’ he said.
The Brigade did not stop at BORI. It also called for probe against the American Study Circle, Deccan College, Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth and Bharat Itihas Samshodhan Mandal for ‘‘disseminating information to insult national heroes’’.
Sunil Bappa More, the Brigade’s regional president for western Maharashtra, called for the release of 72 of its members arrested for the attack and wanted charges of dacoity against them withdrawn.