Dalit protesters block roads, carry out marches in M’rashtra

RSTV Bureau
Suburban trains blocked by Dalit protesters in Mumbai. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@ANI

Suburban trains blocked by Dalit protesters in Mumbai. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@ANI

A state-wide Maharashtra bandh called by Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dalit leader BR Ambedkar, has been called off. The bandh was called on Wednesday, after clashes erupted on January 1 in Pune during a commemoration ceremony of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon by Dalit groups.

One person was killed and several others were injured in the clashes that had erupted.

Through the day, incidents of violence were reported across several places in Maharashtra.

Tension prevailed in Pune, Nagpur and Mumbai as Dalit leaders took out protest marches. In Pune, markets and schools remained closed but a few incidents of stone pelting were reported in the city. Protesters blocked roads and burnt tyres at some places.

Mumbai too remained tense during the day. Thirteen buses of the civic transport service ‘BEST’ were damaged by protesters. Activists tried to block suburban trains and Mumbai’s famous dabbawallas also did not provide their services.

Nearly 21,000 security personnel were deployed in the city to keep a check on the violence.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident, where one person was killed and several others were injured.

Trouble began on January 1 in Pune when clashes erupted at a commemoration ceremony of the Bhima-Koregaon battle. In the 200-year-old battle, the forces of the East India Company defeated Peshwa’s army. Dalits commemorate the British victory every year, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community – then considered untouchable — were part of the East India Company’s forces.

(With inputs from PTI)