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Maharashtra violence over Bhima-Koregaon clashes: Over 160 buses torched, 100 detained, trains disrupted; Mumbai worst hit

Over 160 buses were damaged in Mumbai by rampaging protesters over 100 of whom were detained, police said.

Reported by: PTI, Mumbai [ Updated: January 03, 2018 6:36 IST ]
Maharashtra violence over Bhima-Koregaon clashes: Mumbai on
Image Source : PTI Maharashtra violence over Bhima-Koregaon clashes: Mumbai on edge after protesters block railway tracks, state highways; CM Fadnavis orders judicial probe

Several towns and cities in Maharashtra were on edge today as Dalit protests against yesterday's violence in Pune spilled over to capital Mumbai, with agitators damaging scores of buses, and disrupting road and rail traffic, officials said.

Clashes between Dalit groups and supporters of right-wing Hindu organisations during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district had left a man dead yesterday.

In Pune, cases were registered by the Pimpri police against Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who head 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.

Read live coverage of Dalit protests over Bhina Koregaon violence

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.

Prakash Ambedkar, the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and grandson of B R Ambedkar, has called a Maharashtra bandh tommorrow to protest against the governments "failure" to stop the violence.

Dalit groups were celebrating the bicetenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle which the forces of the British East India Company had won over those belonging to the Peshwa.

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community - then considered untouchable - were part of the East India Companys forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory was seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.

All you need to know about Bhima Koregaon Battle and why Dalits celebrate British victory over Peshwas

Congress president Rahul Gandhi called the event to celebrate the Bhima-Koregaon battle as a "potent symbol" of resistance to RSS-BJPs "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. (Read full story here)

In Mumbai, protesters disrupted road traffic in the suburbs and local train services on the Harbour Line. They blocked roads in several areas, forced shops to shut down, and also attacked a journalist of a television news channel.

Protesters staged a rail roko in Chembur.

Groups of protesters held demonstrations in Chembur, Vikhroli, Mankhurd and Govandi, police said.

India Tv - The anger over violence in Pune during Koregaon battle anniversary spread across the state within 24 hours

Image Source : PTIThe anger over violence in Pune during Koregaon battle anniversary spread across the state within 24 hours

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.

Heavy security was deployed in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai.

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.

Also read: Bhima Koregaon caste violence in Pune: Protests in Mumbai, trains halted over clashes

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

NCP chief Sharad Pawar blamed the administration for yesterdays violence and demanded a probe into the incident.

Appealing for peace, Pawar said such situations need to be defused patiently by those in political and social spheres without any provocative speeches being made.

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

Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan condemned the violence and urged people not to believe in rumours.

Antisocial elements were trying to create tensions between Dalits and Maratha communities for political benefit, he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde said the violence was unfortunate and condemnable.

AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said the Fadnavis government failed to keep peace. "The attack has resulted in unrest across the state between upper caste Hindus and Dalits," she said. 

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