New Delhi, Jan 3: The issue of violence between Dalit and Maratha groups in Pune’s Bhima-Koregaon, which spilled over to other parts of Maharashtra, reverberated in Parliament on Wednesday with the Congress leading the Opposition’s charge against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Raising the issue in Lok Sabha, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of instigating caste war in Maharashtra. Kharge said the violence in Pune on January 1 was triggered RSS men.
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“Who instigated and interfered in this event? Samaaj mein division karne ke liye, kattar Hindutvavaadi, jo wahan RSS ke log hain…iske peecha unka haath hai. Unhone ye kaam karwaya hai (They are working to divide the society on caste lines. The violence was handiwork of RSS people),” Kharge said while demanding an inquiry into the incident by a Supreme Court judge.
Questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the issue, Kharge demanded that the PM should give a statement on the floor of the House. “PM should also give a statement, he can’t stay mum. He is a ‘Mauni baba’ on such issues,” Kharge added triggering a sharp reaction from the treasury benches.
BJP Hits Back
Responding to the Congress’ charge, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said it was the Congress which specialises in the policy of divide and rule.
“Congress divide and rule ki policy use kar rahi hain. Aur Sabka saath sabka vikaas karke Narendra Modi ji desh ko saath le rahe hain (While the Congress is using the policy of divide and rule, PM Modi is bringing the country together with his Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas motto),” Ananth Kumar said.
“Aag ko bujhaane ke bajaaye, bhadkaane ka kaam Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi aur Congress party kar rahi hai. Ise desh bardasht nahin karega (At a time when Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party should have been working to diffuse the tension, they are working to add fuel to fire,” he added.
The Rajya Sabha too witnessed ruckus over the violence against Dalits in Maharashtra that some opposition members blamed on the BJP and the RSS.
Satish Chandra Mishra of the Bahujan Samaj Party alleged that the RSS and BJP were responsible for the violence against Dalits in Maharashtra where the BJP is in power.
The bandh called a few Dalit organisations in protest against Bhima-Koregaon violence witnessed sporadic incidents of violence, road and rail blockages, stone-pelting, processions and protest demonstrations across Maharashtra.
Despite heavy security arrangement groups of Dalit activists jumped on the railway tracks, shouting slogans and waved flags to attempt rail-blockades at various stations in Thane and Palghar districts.
Hordes thronged Dahisar checkpost, the critical entry point to Mumbai and staged a road blockade, preventing traffic movement in both directions, and leading to vehicular snarls. Stones were pelted at vehicles in parts of Jogeshwari, Powai and Andheri East in Mumbai.
Schools and colleges opened as usual in Mumbai but school buses stayed off roads as a precaution. One private school bus was stoned in Chembur but there were no injuries to anyone Mumbai’s famous dabbawallas also remained off work today. Metro services were affected for some time but resumed normal operations later.