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Published On: Tue, Jan 2nd, 2018

Pune voilence was a well-planned exercise by RSS and its affiliated organisations

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pune-dalit-rally-violence-pti_650x400_71514911937MUMBAI :Pune and several other parts of Maharashtra, remained on edge a day after clashes marred the bicentenary celebrations of the historic 1818 battle of Bhima-Koregaon that concluded on Monday.
Tremors of the violence, which left one person dead near Koregaon Bhima village, were felt across several districts in western Maharashtra as well as the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, as activists of Dalit groups, social outfits and Ambedkarite parties staged road blocks and issued condemnations of the January 1 violence.

Protesters disrupted suburbs and local train services on the Harbour Line, blocked roads in several areas of Mumbai, forced shops to shut down and attacked a journalist of a television news channel.
Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) continued to be in force across Pune, Aurangabad and other districts in Marathwada in a bid to preclude storm clouds of a possible caste conflagration.
“We have deployed two companies of the State Reserve Police Force [SRPF] along with several Quick Response Teams [QRT] of the police positioned at sensitive points in Pune city under supervision of senior police personnel,” said Commissioner of Police Rashmi Shukla.

The cyber crime cell of the city police issued a notification warning of “stern action against socially divisive social media posts”. Mobile phone jammers continued to be in operation in Koregaon-Bhima and surrounding villages.

Commerce and commute in several parts of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad were thrown off-kilter as State transport buses were pelted with stones during demonstrations by Bhim Sainiks. Traffic had to to be diverted at a number of points.

By noon, the agitators had compelled several shops and establishments in vital parts of Pune to be shut even as curfew continued to be imposed in the village of Bhima-Koregaon and surrounding villages – the epicenter of the violence — 30 km from the city.
While several outfits and parties issued urgent proclamations of restraint, some alleged that the violence was a carefully planned conspiracy by rightwing Hindutva groups.

Organisers of the ‘Bhima-Koregaon Shauryadin Prerana Abhiyan’, a committee which held the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ on Sunday in which Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani and Radhika Vemula participated, alleged that the clashes were incited by right-wing outfits.
According to sources, on December 29, a fierce dispute broke out between upper caste Marathas and Dalits in the village of Vadhu Budruk (around 4 km from Koregaon -Bhima) over a rudimentary plaque erected near the tomb of Govind Ganapat Gaikwad, a Dalit from the Mahar community. He is believed to have performed the final rites of the slain Maratha King Sambhaji (Shivaji’s son).
Gaikwad had defied Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to perform the last rites of Sambhaji after the latter was tortured and murdered by Aurangzeb in 1689.
However, the Marathas of Vadhu-Budruk allege that the account was “a distortion of history” and that it was their ancestors who performed Sambhaji’s final rites.

Accordingly, the Marathas, along with the gram panchayat authorities, took strong objection to the plaque, saying it falsified history as there was no documented evidence.

On the same day, a complaint was filed by Dalit activists against 49 persons of Vadhu Budruk village under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, for damaging the board, police said.
“The Bhima-Koregaon violence was an act of provocation carefully calculated in advance by Hindutva outfits and designed to spark tension between Mahar [Dalit] and Maratha communities,” said Santosh Shinde of the pro-Maratha Sambhaji Brigade.
“Several thousands of Hindutva activists were assembled to wreak havoc on the occasion. What were the police doing? Why wasn’t adequate security in place when the dispute at Vadhu-Budruk broke out on December 29? There were no ambulances or adequate security in place,” Mr. Mali told .

One person, identified as Rahul Phatangale, lost his life in the violence between two groups that was marked by pelting of stones, and several persons were left injured. Scores of vehicle, including police vans, were torched.

Meanwhile, Slamming the judicial inquiry ordered today by the chief minister into the violence as a sham, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the RSS and its affiliates were responsible for the incident.
“The NCP workers held a protest outside the CM’s office as the government has shown complete apathy in controlling the violence. According to Malik this was a well-planned exercise by the RSS and its affiliated organisations.

Earlier in the day, Fadnavis ordered an inquiry by a sitting high Court judge in the Bhima Koregaon clash.Malik said the judicial inquiry was a “hoax” and a time-buying exercise. “Everybody knows judicial inquiries take a long time to complete. People will forget about the incident till then.

Police had specific inputs about the instigators. The CM should immediately take action against them,” he said.
Over 160 buses were damaged in stone pelting across the state, according to police. Over 100 protesters were detained in Mumbai.(With Agency Inputs ).

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