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Bhima Koregaon violence: Protest spreads across Maharashtra, Dalit groups call for bandh

By Deepika
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    The violence that broke out over the 200th-anniversary celebrations of Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune on Monday spread across Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday.

    Policemen try to control the situation after a violent protest by Dalits over Bhima Koregaon violence in Mumbai on Tuesday. Photo credit: PTI

    Dalit organisations have called for a day bandh on Wednesday. Activist and grandson of BR Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar has given a call for a Maharashtra bandh.

    Prakash Ambedkar said Maharashtra Democratic Front, Maharashtra Left Front, besides 250 organisations, will be supporting Wednesday's shutdown.

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Priyadarshini, Kurla, Sidharth Colony and Amar Mahal areas on the Eastern Express Highway, took out processions and raised slogans against the government and the administration.

    Protests were also held in Kolhapur, Parbhani, Latur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Hingoli, Kolhapur, Nanded and Thane districts, police said.

    In Pune, cases were registered by the Pimpri police against Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who heads the Hindu Ekta Aghadi and Shivraj Pratishthan respectively, for allegedly inciting the violence. The two organisations had opposed the celebration of "British victory" in the battle.

    Over 160 buses were damaged in Mumbai by rampaging protesters over 100 of whom were detained, police said.
    In Thane, hundreds of protesters sat on a dharna on roads, forced shops to down shutters and damaged buses. Reports of violence and stone pelting were also reported from Pune and Solapur.

    Thousands of Dalits took to the streets in Chembur, Mankhurd, Ghatkopar, Bhandup and other strongholds in north-eastern parts of the city demanding action against the perpetrators of the Pune riots.

    Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the Bombay High Court into the Pune violence and appealed for calm. He said it needed to be ascertained if there was a conspiracy behind yesterday's violence.

    Fadnavis said a Rs 10 lakh compensation would be given to kin of the youth killed and his death would be probed by the CID.

    Congress president Rahul Gandhi called the event to celebrate the Bhima-Koregaon battle as a "potent symbol" of resistance to RSS-BJP's "fascist vision".

    "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," he tweeted.
    NCP chief Sharad Pawar blamed the administration for yesterday's violence and demanded a probe into the incident.

    "Since the administration did not take precautions, rumours and misunderstanding spread. A youth in Nanded died, unfortunately. People from the political and social field should defuse the situation harmoniously and patiently without making provocative speeches," the former Union minister said.

    The Mumbai police, meanwhile, issued a statement appealing to people not to believe in rumours and verify facts with the police before posting anything on social media.

    Maharashtra minister of state for home Deepak Kesarkar today visited Bhima-Koregoan and neighbouring villages and said the situation was under control.

    OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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