Thousands visit ‘disputed’ samadhi of Govind Gopal at Vadhu Budruk

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Many of those who visited the Jaystambh in Perne village on Saturday to mark the 204th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon also visited the historic Vadhu Budruk village, which is known for the samadhi of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj.

The village also has a disputed tomb-like structure, which, according to the Mahar community, is the samadhi of Govind Gopal Dhegoji Meghoji, a 17th-century Dalit figure.

Energy Minister Nitin Raut, Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan and thousands of others visited the samadhis of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj and Govind Gopal on Saturday. Police force was deployed around both locations but no untoward incident was reported.

Tension has prevailed in Vadhu Budruk following the dispute between Maratha and Dalit Mahar communities in the village over who conducted the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj.

The Marathas believe it was their ancestors, the Shivale Deshmukhs, who defied the orders of Aurangzeb and performed the last rites of Sambhaji. But according to the Dalit narrative, it was Govind Gopal who performed the last rites of the king.

The Gaikwad family from the village claim to be successors of Govind Gopal.

A board with the ‘disputed history’ of Govind Gopal, allegedly erected by the Gaikwad family in Vadhu Budruk on the intervening night of December 28 and 29, 2017, was allegedly removed by members of the Maratha community.

This led to an altercation, which was believed to be among the reasons that led to the violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 2018.

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