On Friday, the Maharashtra Gad Durg Rakshan Samiti organized a rally that started at Metro Cinema and ended in Azad Maidan to demand the removal of encroachments from the state's several forts. The Samiti, a coalition of right-wing groups including Hindu Jan Jagruti, Samast Hind Bandhu, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, and Shiv Pratishthan, demanded that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde take steps to guarantee that the encroachments are removed and they be returned to their former grandeur.
500 people attended the event, all of whom, according to the organisers, could be related to Tanaji Malusare and Bajirao Deshpande. Sandeep Deshpande, a descendant of Bajirao Deshpande, a fighter in Shivaji's army, was introduced by the organisers as saying, "First a dargah comes up, then a masjid," at the event.
"Maharashtra has around 50 forts that have been invaded. Sunil Ghanwat, the rally's organiser and a member of Hindu Jan Jagruti, stated, "We demand that they be dismissed and that Archaeological Survey of India officers, even if they are retired, be held accountable. The encroachments were in Colaba, Malanggad, Mahim, Sion, Lohagad, Vishal Gad, and Chandan Gad, according to the organisers.
Ashutosh Jha, one of the speakers, claimed that in various locations, dargahs had been built first, followed by masjids. Despite having a Hindutva government in place, speakers claimed that the forts were not being rebuilt to their former splendour. "Eknath Shinde visited us in September of last year to meet with us. But yet, nothing, "said Samast Hindu Bandhu member Ravindra Padwal.
The participants held up signs urging the removal of "Islamic Atikraman" (Islamic encroachment) from the forts. Despite the fact that the latter were more obvious, Ghanvat stated that the gathering was against all encroachments, including Islamic ones.