Mumbai, Jan 4: The Maharashtra bandh by Dalit groups, to protest against the caste-based violence during the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district on January 1, was called off by BR Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh Party around 4 pm on Wednesday.
On the other hand, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a probe into incidents of violence across the state. “Inquiry will be conducted in the incidents of violence that took place across Maharashtra. We are monitoring the CCTV footage of the violence,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying.
Here are 10 facts about Maharashtra Bandh:
- On Monday, a large section of Dalits gathered in Pune to mark the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon in which the British Army comprising Dalits had defeated the Peshwas.
- The ‘right-wing’ groups, however, protested the celebrations by the Dalits as they felt that a ‘British’ victory should not be observed. Notably, this year the celebrations got a political colour with Jignesh Mewani, the newly elected MLA of Gujarat attending the event.
- The opposition left the Dalits irked and soon a clash broke out between both the groups. One person died in the stone pelting and arson.
- On Wednesday, Dalit groups had called for the Maharashtra bandh. It was led by BR Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh Party.
- Several incidents of road and rail route blockades were reported during the day. In Mumbai, the bandh took a toll on road traffic, rail traffic, business and even Bollywood whereas, in Aurangabad some incidents of vandalism were reported. Internet services were suspended in the region.
- In Pune, Aurangabad and Nashik, schools and colleges remained shut during the day. In Mumbai, schools and colleges were forced to suspend classes mid-day as protests spread across the city. Examinations were postponed for Mumbai University students who couldn’t make it for their examination.
- The bus drivers’ association refused to ply buses during the day in fear of buses being vandalised by protesters. Mumbai’s famous dabbawallas also remained off work today.
- Autorickshaws and taxis stopped plying after having to face protests, cab services Ola and Uber were also not working through the day.
- In the evening, the bandh was called off by BR Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh Party.
- Soon after, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a probe into incidents of violence across the state while adding that the government is keeping a close watch on the CCTV footage of the violence.
The bandh was called after violence erupted in Pune on January 1 at an event to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon in which the British Army comprising Dalits had defeated the Peshwas. A large section of Dalits view the historical battle as the defeat of the ‘casteism’ of upper-caste Peshwas. ‘Right wing’ groups opposed the Dalit celebrations saying they cannot observe a ‘British’ victory. This irked the Dalits and soon the clash turned violent with stone pelting and arson between two groups. One person died in the violence and several were injured.