Mumbai, January 2: Dalits on Tuesday afternoon hit several parts of the street in Mumbai to protest against the violence that took place in Pune on Monday. In last three-hours the Mumbai police officials have arrested over 100 agitators from the financial capital, after several incidents of violence, stone-pelting and damage to public property were reported.
Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) leader Prakash Ambedkar has called for Maharashtra bandh on Wednesday to protest the state government’s “failure” to stop the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district. Ambedkar alleged that Hindu Ekta Aghadi was responsible for the violence.
He said Maharashtra Democratic Front, Maharashtra Left Front, besides 250 organisations, have supported tomorrow’s shutdown. Ambedkar, the grandson of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar, has appealed for peace during the bandh period.
Traffic was hit on Eastern Express Highway near Mumbai, train services were also affected, and a protester who just trying to immolate himself was just saved on time. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has warned the people not to spread rumours on social media and also ordered a judicial inquiry into the Monday’s clash, that claimed a life of one.
Here are some latest updates:
- Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dalit icon Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) has called for a Maharashtra bandh tomorrow to protest the state government’s “failure” to stop the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district on Monday.
- Prakash Ambedkar has also appealed for peace during the bandh period. Referring to the caste clashes in Bhima Koregaon, Ambedkar ruled out any conflict between Marathas and Dalits. “If there was any tension, the 200th-anniversary commemoration of the Bhima Koregaon battle would not have taken place. Yesterday’s programme was organised by Sambhaji Brigade (a Maratha organisation),” he said while addressing a press conference here.
- Gujarat Dalit leader and legislator Jignesh Mevani will also visit Mumbai today.
- Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has appealed for peace and said that Maharashtra is a progressive state which does not believe in casteist violence. He also warned that strict action will be taken against those who use social media to spread rumours. Fadnavis also assured the inquiry in the matter will be headed by a sitting judge. On Tuesday evening, Pune’ Pimpri police station registered a case against two persons.
- Shops and business establishments were also shut and a journalist was attacked as groups of youths from Mankurd, Vikhroli, Chembur and Govandi went ahead and joined the protest, the police said.
- The Central Railway also suspended suburban services between Kurla and Vashi on its harbour corridor and is running special services between CSMT-Kurla and Vashi-Panvel section.
- On Tuesday morning, traffic came to a standstill at the Eastern Express Highway in Mumbai, which re-opened after 4 pm. Mumbai police in a tweet said there was “no reason to panic” and one should “verify facts with police officers” before posting anything on social media.
- The cops have also denied several reports stating of prohibitory orders banning large gatherings in Chembur or any other part of the city.
- Congress President Rahul Gandhi attacked the BJP and its ideological mentor RSS and tweeted, “A central pillar of the RSS/BJP’s fascist vision for India is that Dalits should remain at the bottom of Indian society. Una, Rohith Vemula and now Bhima-Koregaon are potent symbols of the resistance.”
- On Monday afternoon, groups of Dalits, who were on their way to attend an event near Pune city to mark 200 years of the Bhima Koregaon battle, were attacked and their vehicles were also damaged.
- The violence, which started after a small argument and stone-pelting, soon went out of control. A 28-year-old man died in the incident and over 40 vehicles were damaged and less than half-a-dozen people were injured. The police said that the deceased man belonged to an upper caste.
- The Maharashtra police were forced to block traffic on Pune-Ahmednagar highway to prevent the situation from escalating, shut down the internet services and restrict movement of people before the situation was brought under control.
- Every year on January 1, Dalits observe as “Vijay Diwas” to commemorate the battle fought in 1818, in which a Battalion of British East India Company comprising Dalits had defeated the Peshwa soldiers.