Protests over Bhima-Koregaon rock streets, Parliament

ANI | Updated: Jan 04, 2018 19:25 IST

New Delhi [India] Jan. 04 (ANI): Protests over the Bhima-Koregaon violence continued to rock streets and Parliament on Thursday.

A youth was killed in clashes between two groups on Monday during an event to mark 200 years of Bhima Koregaon battle near Pune.

The incident has prompted dalit community to hit the streets in Maharashtra and many other states.

In Madhya Pradesh, twelve buses were vandalised at Pushpak Bus Stand in Burhanpur during bandh over Bhima Koregaon violence. A driver was injured who was admitted in district hospital.

In Gujarat's Junagarh, protesters blocked Madhuram by-pass road in Junagarh. In order to prevent damage, buses in Junagarh were shifted from depots to a division workshop.

Earlier in the day, Mumbai police denied permission for the All India National Students' Summit where newly elected Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid were invited as guests.

The issue was also raised in the Parliament.

When Congress MP Rajni Patil raised the issue in Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal also demanded action and constitution of a Commission for a report on the matter.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut also told Rajya Sabha, "Bhima-Khoregaon violence is very unfortunate but Maharashtra government behaviour during the incident was very patient. Situation could have become worse but what the government did at that time was right."

However, Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamna' criticised Maharashtra and the Central government for the ongoing protests in Maharashtra by the dalit outfits against the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

"The state is suffering because of the politics of the state police department and the BJP-led central government, which controls the Ministry of Home Affairs", Shiv Sena said in its editorial.

The editorial questioned the capability of the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis government, which is "not able to control the ongoing chaos in the state".

It further accused the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh president and the grandson of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar, of inciting the violence and averred that the latter should make an effort to bring back peace and normalcy in the state, rather than fanning the flames.

Saamana advised Ambedkar to not use the violence to fulfill his political agenda and said that a true leader is the one "who gives direction to the crowd and not the one who instigates the violence."

Though Mahrashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered the Crime Investigation Department (CID) led probe into the death of a youth in the violence and also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the victim's kin, but various dalit organisations on Wednesday called for a day-long Maharashtra bandh in which no major incident was reported.

The Maharashtra Government has denied any dalit was killed in the Bhima-Koregaon violence and blamed social media rumours for inciting emotions.

"There has been no death of a person from dalit community. Wrong messages are being spread on social media, so people have to be very cautious," Deepak Kesarkar, Minister of State for Home (Rural), Maharashtra told ANI on Wednesday.

The Congress, however, used the incident to browbeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is ruling Maharashtra.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) want to keep dalits at bottom of the society.

He took to Twitter to mount attack on the BJP and RSS over Bhima-Koregaon violence in Maharashtra.

He said the protest over Bhima-Koregaon violence is the symbol of dalit resistance.

"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," Rahul tweeted.

The Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima.

The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force.

The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry, and therefore the dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in their history. (ANI)