Awhad apologises after tearing up posters with Ambedkar photo

NCP (Sharad Pawar) leader Jitendra Awhad leaves after a Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) meeting regarding seat sharing for Lok Sabha elections with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, in Mumbai, Wednesday, March 6, 2024.
NCP (Sharad Pawar) leader Jitendra Awhad leaves after a Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) meeting regarding seat sharing for Lok Sabha elections with Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, in Mumbai, Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Mumbai | NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) leader Jitendra Awhad apologised on Wednesday for tearing up posters denouncing the Manusmriti which also had a picture of Dr B R Ambedkar.

The rival Nationalist Congress Party headed by Ajit Pawar targeted him over the incident and demanded that he be arrested, while the Bharatiya Janata Party said it would stage protests in Maharashtra over the issue.

Awhad, a former state minister, was taking part in a protest at Mahad in Raigad district against the state government's alleged plans to introduce some verses from the Manusmriti in school curriculum.

The ancient text supported the caste system and denigrated women, he had said earlier, asking people to oppose the decision.

But a new controversy erupted when videos of the protest showed him tearing up a stack of posters which also had Ambedkar's picture on them.

NCP spokesperson Umesh Patil demanded that Awhad be arrested for insulting Dr Ambedkar.

Awhad was responsible for "spoiling the social environment in the country and state by performing the stunt of burning the Manusmriti in Mahad," Patil alleged while seeking to know what action NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar would take against his party's leader.

State BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule said his party would stage protests against the former minister on Thursday.

In a video statement later, Awhad said party workers had brought posters denouncing the Manusmriti which had Ambedkar's photograph. "I tore them up without realizing this. I apologise publicly," he said.

Education minister Deepak Kesarkar had said two days ago that verses from the Manusmriti were not part of the curriculum in the state.

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