NCP Chief Sharad Pawar expressed shock over violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune where people congregated to commemorate an event to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon.
Sharad Pawar told ANI, " People have been going there for last 200 yrs, nothing like this ever happened. It was expected that more people will be there on the 200th anniversary. More attention was needed in the matter."
The event was marred by incidents of stone pelting and vandalism on Monday. The incident occurred in Bhima Koregaon in the afternoon when people were heading towards a war memorial in the village. The violence erupted after a group and some members of the crowd on its way to visit the memorial had an argument over some issue. Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to intervene, set up an inquiry and ensure that the Dalits had police protection for the event.
Maharashtra: Violence between two groups during an event to mark 200 years of the Bhima Koregaon battle near Pune yesterday, vehicles set on fire pic.twitter.com/5RpITAK4qB— ANI (@ANI) January 2, 2018
"Stone pelting started after the argument. During the violence, vehicles and a house in the vicinity were damaged," a police officer deployed for bandobast at Bhima Koregaon said without elaborating. He said the police blocked the vehicular traffic on Pune-Ahmednagar highway for some time following the incident.
The Battle of Koregaon was fought on 1 January 1818 in Pune district, in which the British Army comprising Dalits had defeated upper-caste Peshwas.