Mumbai, Jan 2: Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and several Dalit organisations have called for ‘Maharashtra Bandh’ tomorrow on January 3 to protest over violence during the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district. Dalit activist-turned-politician Jignesh Mevani is likely to visit Mumbai to participate in the protest, media reports suggested. Catch live updates on Bhima Koregaon violence here.
Tension gripped several parts of Mumbai as Dalits took to streets in protest. Protesters blocked roads in Mulund, Chembur, Bhandup, Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar and Nehru Nagar in Kurla. Heavy security has been deployed in the eastern suburbs to check any untoward incidents. Local train services on Harbour Line were also disrupted as agitators came on tracks near Govandi and Chembur. As protest turned violent, several schools and colleges were also shut as a precautionary measure. (ALSO READ: Battle of Koregaon: What Actually Happened in 1818)
The disturbances erupted in the village of Koregaon-Bhima on January 1 during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Anglo-Maratha War between the Army of Peshwa Bajirao II with a small force of East India Company that comprised a large number of Dalits. Hundreds of thousands of Dalits had congregated around the Victory Pillar (Vijay Stambh) erected by the British in Sanaswadi village when suddenly stone pelting started, allegedly by some rightwing groups carrying saffron flags.
A person was killed, more than 30 vehicles, including buses, police vans and private vehicles, were torched or damaged during the clashes. The police fired tear gas to control the mobs and prohibitory orders were imposed in the entire Pune district. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday announced a probe by a Bombay High Court judge into the incident. Fadnavis’ move came after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar blamed the Maharashtra administration for lapses leading to Monday’s riots and appealed for peace.
(With agency inputs)