This morning Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu allowed members to express their views on the issue of violence in Maharashtra during the anniversary celebration of the Bhima-Koregaon battle earlier this week. Maharashtra saw a massive, yet largely peaceful bandh on Wednesday, called by several Dalit outfits who staged protest against the state government’s alleged failure to stop the violence against the Dalits.
Allowing members a minute each to voice their opinions and suggestions, the Chairman asked the House to maintain calm and normalcy.
“Our approach should be that tempers come down and the situation is brought back to normalcy because we should not increase the tension there… after all it is a social conflict,” the Chairman said.
The issue had dominated proceedings in Rajya Sabha yesterday leading to multiple adjournments.
On Thursday, MPs across political parties spoke on the issue condemning the violence and urged peace and calm be maintianed across the state. Some opposition leaders even blamed the ruling party in the state, the BJP, for not making enough arrangements to prevent the incident from snowballing.
Although Maharashtra government has ordered a judicial probe into the incident of violence in Pune during the 200th anniversary of Bhima-Koregaon battle, some leaders pressed for a probe by sitting Supreme Court judge.
On January 1, Dalit groups were commemorating 200 years of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, where the combined forces of the then East India Company defeated the Peshwa’s army. Dalits celebrate the British victory as it is believed the Mahar community, then considered untouchables, were part of the British East India Company.