Maharashtra: Ahead of polls, Dalit leaders to visit Bhima-Koregaon today

Mumbai: A year after the intense caste violence, the occasion of the 200th anniversary at Bhima-Koregaon battle in 2018, Dalit leaders will be visiting ‘Vijaystambh’ on Tuesday. The violence spread to the state’s other parts on January 1.
With the forthcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections this year, the leaders have been following various groups who have planned to address the public rallies near the vicinity of Vijaystambh. They are trying to woo the Dalit community members keeping an eye on polls.

Union minister for social justice Ramdas Athawale and the three grandsons of late Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar are expected to visit Bhima-Koregaon to commemorate the 201st anniversary of the battle. Prakash Ambedkar said he has been visiting Bhima-Koregaon for the past several years and this time, too, he will. Ambedkar has never addressed any rally at Bhima-Koregaon till now.

JV Pawar, secretary of BBM and one of the founders of the Dalit Panther said, “Thousands of Ambedkar followers will gather at Bhima-Koregaon fearlessly and they will not let the memories of last year dampen their spirit. The police too have taken precautionary measures.”

Pune police, both rural and city have taken preventive measures and disallowed few leaders from visiting both the historic places. Police have given Dalit leaders permission to address rallies and have permitted to build a dais within one kilometre periphery of the Vijaysthambh at Bhima-Koregaon.

Meanwhile, as part of the security measures, the Pune Rural Police have issued prohibitory orders–disallowing assembly of more than four persons (section 144), engaging with one or more persons in any conspiracy (section 107), punishment of abetment (section 110) and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code against.

Meanwhile, the other faction, Hindu right wing leaders who were accused of inciting violence on December 31, 2017, Milind Ekbote and 60 other persons, were directed not to enter Bhima –Koregaon and other adjacent villages ahead of the 201st anniversary celebration of the battle.

All those who have been named in the First Information Reports (FIRs) as well as those people with a history of communal riots and creating tensions in the past, have been forbidden from entering the villages of Bhima Koregaon, Sanswadi, Perne and others,” said Sandip Patil, Pune Rural Superintendent of Police.

\Further, to prevent provocative and false messages that can spread hatred or create panic on social media, the internet services have been suspended on December 31 and January 1, 2019. he police have not given permission to any other leader or activist other than Dalit leaders to hold a rally. Hence, the police prevented Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’, an Uttar Pradesh-based ‘Bhim Army’ chief to hold a rally in the state’s Pune district.

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