Thousands of protestors blocked the road and rail traffic in Mumbai on Monday during the Elgar Morcha, led by Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar. The protesters are demanding the arrest of Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide for his alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January.
The Mumbai Police on Sunday denied permission for Elgar Morcha and asked protesters to assemble ar Azad Maidan. Prakash Ambedkar, however, said the protest march will be taken out without permission.
The march began from Rani Baug at Byculla, but since the police denied permission, several protesters assembled at CST and head towards Vidhan Bhavan.
The vast number of protestors disrupted the traffic and resulted in massive jams and overcrowded trains of Monday morning.
“The state government informed us about denial of permission on Sunday afternoon. However, the people across the state, who want to join the march, have already left for Mumbai and now we cannot call off the protest rally,” Prakash Ambedkar was quoted as saying on Sunday. The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh chief said denial of permission will lead to more chaos in Mumbai.
Ambedkar had served an ultimatum to the state government on March 15 demanding the arrest of Bhide by March 26. Another leader named by Ambedkar – Milind Ekbote – was arrested from Pune in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon incidents earlier this month. Ekbote and Bhide are accused of instigating, planning and orchestrating the violence during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Anglo-Maratha War where the army of Peshwa Bajirao II was vanquished by a small force of the East India Company that comprised a large number of Dalits.
A youth was killed during clashes. However, both Ekbote and Bhide have vehemently denied playing any role in the January 1 riots and its subsequent fallout.
Watch video: Bhima Koregaon violence: Elgar protest, seeking Sambhaji Bhide's arrest, reaches Mumbai