Sangli unrest: BJP leader Munde challenges authorities to arrest him

     Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gopinath Munde said on Tuesday that he is ready to court arrest and has challenged the local authorities to try and stop him from heading to curfew-imposed Sangli. Munde has been slapped with a prohibitory notice by the Sangli Collector to stay away from the area which has been very tense over the past few days following riots between Hindus and Muslims. Munde says he is willing to break the law and get arrested in order to reach Sangli. "I will go to Sangli. I am willing to break the law and do a Satyagraha (civil disobedience) and get arrested as well. People there are suffering because of police high-handedness and I cannot tolerate it," Munde told TIMES NOW. Munde was detained last night, for the second time in a day, at the hill station of Lonavala when he was proceeding to violence-hit Sangli-Miraj, party leaders said. Earlier in the day, the former state home minister was not allowed by authorities to board a flight to Sangli. He then proceeded to Pune en route Sangli by road, but was stopped by police at Lonavala, about 65 km from Pune, they said, adding the BJP leader was currently put at a hotel resort. Communal clashes had broken out at Miraj town and then at Sangli city last week and they continued to be under curfew since Saturday night. The trouble started on September 3, the Anant Chaturdashi day, when some pro-Hindutva organisations tried to raise an arch on the immersion procession route, depicting the killing of the Mughal warrior Afzal Khan by Maratha King Shivaji recorded in the Maratha history. This led to group clashes. The authorities today announced relaxation of curfew in Miraj for half an hour in the morning. The curfew will remain in force in Miraj till Wednesday afternoon, officials said. Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil said all political parties should appeal for calm and peace from Mumbai itself instead of going to the affected places.

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