Attack on Ramdas Athawale: RPI marks silent bandh across state

Mumbai: The response to statewide bandh and road blockade called by Republican Party of India (Athawale) received good response on Sunday and no untoward incident has been reported from across the state. The bandh was called to protest attack on Ramdas Athawale, union minister of state for social justice was allegedly slapped by a youth – Pravin Gosawi on Saturday night during an event at Ambernath in Thane district. Police have detained the youth, whereas, Athawale has blamed police for ‘inadequate security’.

The party has called for a shutdown in Ambernath, about 50 km from Mumbai on Sunday as a mark of protest, but Athawale has asked his party workers to maintain peace. Meanwhile, the rasta roko and bundh was marked in Ambernath, the bastion of RPI (A). Apart from the city, Ulhasnagar, Kalyan, Thane, Igatpurui, Nashik, Pune, Wardha, Solapur, Baramati, Satara, Sangli, Beed has recorded bundh. Rail roko was marked at Aurangabad. In Mumbai, road blockade was marked at Ghatkopar, Ramabai Colony, Chembur, Malabar Hill, Borivli, Mulund.

Meanwhile, the assailant Gosawi is a former worker of the RPI(A)’s youth wing, police said. A case has been registered and investigations are underway, said inspector KG Chavan. “Gosavi’s membership was terminated from the RPI (A) a year ago for criminal activities as he was blackmailing people through Right to Information (RTI) pleas. He may have been frustrated over it,” told PP Shewale, deputy commissioner of police (zone IV), Thane Police.

However, Gosavi said, “He was upset with Athawales’s association with Bharatiya Janata Party whose ideology is against Dalit community.” Dalit leader and Gujarat lawmaker Jignesh Mevani condemned the incident, but said that the anger has roots into Athawale’s “silence” on a host of issues.

“I understand the anger dalits have for Ramdas Athawale but I condemn the way he is publicly slapped. Not done. However this anger has roots into the silence maintained by Ramdas ji on issues like Delta meghwal, Rohit Vemuala, Una issue, Bhima Koregav and 2nd April’s bharat bandh,” Mevani has twitted.  Athawale has blamed the police for “failing to provide him adequate security”.

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