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Maharashtra caste clashes: Mumbai Police denies permission to Mevani, Umar Khalid event; students detained

The action came after police denied permission for the 'All India Students Summit 2018', which was scheduled to be held today, in which Mevani and Khalid were invited.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, Mumbai [ Published on: January 04, 2018 13:53 IST ]
Mumbai Police denies permission to Mevani, Umar Khalid
Image Source : PTI Mumbai Police denies permission to Mevani, Umar Khalid event; students detained

In wake of the ongoing caste clashes in Maharashtra, the Mumbai Police today denied permission to a summit scheduled to be addressed by Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid and detained students gathered outside a hall here for the event. 

A police official said the number of students and activists detained outside the Bhaidas Hall in suburban Vile Parle was not yet available. 

The action came after police denied permission for the 'All India Students Summit 2018', which was scheduled to be held today, in which Mevani and Khalid were invited.

The police denied permission in the wake of protests and bandh in the state yesterday following violence on the anniversary of a battle fought 200 years ago at Bhima Koregaon in Pune, a senior police official said. 

The police has not given permission for the programme, Datta Daghe, the president of Chhatra Bharati, the organiser of the event, told PTI. 

"Despite this we plan to go ahead with the programme. Mevani, Khalid and other invitees are coming after 11 am," he said. 

Also Read: Maharashtra caste clashes LIVE: Violence reaches Madhya Pradesh, 12 buses vandalised in Burhanpur

Daghe said there was a huge police presence at the hall and the students were not being allowed to go inside. 

Pune Police had earlier said that they had received a complaint against Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Mevani and Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) student leader Khalid for their "provocative" speeches at an event in Pune on December 31. 

Mevani and Khalid had attended the "Elgar Parishad", an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, at Shaniwar Wada in Pune. 

Violence erupted in Pune district when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa's Army.

FIR filed against Jignesh Mevani, Umar Khalid for their 'provocative speeches'

An FIR was filed against Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid for their alleged "provocative" speeches during an event here on December 31, an official said today. 

Both were charged for allegedly creating a rift and spreading disharmony between the Maratha and Dalit communities. 

Mevani, the newly elected MLA from Gujarat, and Khalid had attended the "Elgar Parishad", an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, at Shaniwar Wada in the city on December 31. 

According to a complaint filed by city resident Akshay Bikkad, Mevani and Khalid allegedly made "provocative" speeches at the event and their remarks were aimed at creating disharmony and rift between the communities, which led to the violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1. 

Bikkad approached the Deccan-Gymkhana police with the complaint, which was forwarded to the Vishrambaug police station, since Shaniwarwada falls under its jurisdiction. The Vishrambaug police registered the FIR against the two leaders yesterday, the official said. 

According to the complaint, Mevani at the Pune event said, "If we want to win over this new Peshwai, the battle of Bhima Koregaon needs to be taken ahead." 

The Dalit leader said it was right that people fighting the battle needed to be in assemblies and Parliament, but if one had to eradicate casteism, it would happen only by taking to the streets. 

According to the complaint, Khalid, the student leader from JNU in New Delhi, said the battle of Bhima Koregaon had to be taken ahead. 

The complainant added excerpts from the speech by Mevani: "The (January 1, 1881) battle of Koregaon-Bhima can be a war of tomorrow. If they attack, it is time to retaliate, and winning this war will be a tribute to the martyrs. Crushing the new ‘Peshwai' can be a homage to the heroes of the Koregaon-Bhima battle."

The alleged excerpt from Khalid's speech: "If we want to win this war against the new ‘Peshwai', we must carry forward the battle of Koregaon-Bhima. If we want to carry ahead the struggle, it cannot be achieved merely by electoral politics.

"I believe that people who fight for the public causes must find a place in the legislatures in Gujarat and Maharashtra, and also in Parliament. However, caste system can be uprooted only by taking the fight to the streets. The dominance of one caste over the other can only be destroyed by battling it out on the streets," Khalid allegedly said.

Based on the complaint, offences were registered against Mevani and Khalid under IPC sections 153 (a) (delivering speech to create disharmony or feelings of enmity), section 505 (giving statement conducing to public mischief) and 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than ten persons), the police official said. 

Normal life was crippled in Maharashtra yesterday due to a bandh called by Dalit groups to protest the violence on the anniversary of a battle fought 200 years ago. 

Violence erupted in Pune on January 1 when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the British defeated the Peshwas of Maharashtra. 

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community were part of the East India Company's forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.

(With inputs from agencies)

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