On Sunday, people from all walks of life gathered near the statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj across Maharashtra to protest the state’s ongoing communal politics. The crowd supported community brotherhood and believed that communal politics endangers the nation’s harmony and secular fabric.

Tushar Gandhi, author and Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson, stated that the gathering was spontaneous and that the crowd came voluntarily. “The primary goal of Sunday’s gathering is to highlight India’s secular identity.” In Maharashtra, people dressed in white gathered near statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj or Mahatma Gandhi and paid silent tributes. “I went to Juhu myself on Sunday morning and saw citizens from Shivaji Park, Borivli, and other parts of Maharashtra paying their respects to Shivaji Maharaj’s statues,” Gandhi said on Sunday.

He went on to say that the gathering was not planned in advance in order to mobilise the crowd.

“At present, there is Hanuman Chalisa v/s Namaz row that is ongoing in the state. Besides this, there is so much communal tension in the country. Considering these factors, citizens from various walks of life came out together on Sunday morning as a sign of togetherness. Those who were unable to go out clicked selfies in white clothes and posted on social media,” he quoted.

Since last week, a signature campaign on social media has been running in which authors and activists have signed to show their support for this movement. The primary signatories included Gandhi, veteran actor Amol Palekar, writer Ashok Shahane, Marathi playwright Vasant Abaji Dahake, painter Sudhir Patwardhan, and his wife Shanta.

According to Gandhi, the signature movement gained traction on social media, prompting citizens to gather outside Shivaji Maharaj’s statue on Sunday morning.