Mumbai: Massive protests erupted in Mumbai, Thane, Akola, Ahmednagar, Dhule and other parts of Maharashtra after Dalit rally to commemorate victory against upper case in Koregaon Bhima near Pune on Monday was attacked by “Saffron clad” Hindus.
One youth, believed to be a Maratha, was killed in the incident that took place on Monday when Dalit marchers were on their way to Koregaon Bhima 1818 War Memorial.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis while declaring judicial probe of the incident also announced Rs.10 lak compensation for the deceased’s family.
Eight Dalit organizations have called statewide bandh on Wednesday to protest the attacks on Dalits in Koregaon Bhima.
Koregaon Bhima violence soon spread to other cities of Maharashtra including Mumbai, Thane, Akola, Ahmednagar and Dhule.
Dalit youths are protesting since last few hours in Mumbai suburbs, especially Chembur, Ghatkopar and other areas dominated by them.
The road which links Eastern Express Highway with Mumbai is blocked by protesters. They have also torched vehicles at some places. Burnt tyres can also be seen spread all across in TV visuals.
Violence erupted in Koregaon Bhima near Pune on Monday after a group and some members of the crowd on its way to visit the 1818 war memorial had an argument over some issue.
“Stone pelting started after the argument. During the violence, vehicles and a house in the vicinity was damaged,” a police officer deployed for bandobast at Bhima Koregaon said without elaborating.
Bhima Koregaon battle is remembered for the British Army comprising dalits that had defeated upper-caste Peshwas.
People assembled to pay their respects to the martyrs of Bhima Koregaon in Koregaon, 30 kms away from Pune, were taken aback as they found themselves confronting a sudden stream of stones raining down on them from the nearby houses, according to SabrangIndia.
Individuals with saffron flags reportedly pelted stones at cars going towards the village, where thousands of people gather every New Year’s Day to commemorate the victory of the English, whose troops comprised mostly of Mahar soldiers, against the Brahmin Peshwa-led Maratha Empire in 1818.
“The situation is bad and there is trouble in all directions,” Police Inspector Ramesh Galande of the Shikrapur police station, under whose jurisdiction Koregaon Bhima falls, told Scroll.in earlier on Monday.
Somnath Waghmare, a filmmaker who has made a documentary film on Bhima Koregaon, said this was the largest gathering he had seen at the site in the last five years.