Security tightened at Koregaon Bhima as Maharashtra Dy CM Pawar, Prakash Ambedkar pay tribute at 'Jay Stambh'
Ajit Pawar/Twitter

Koregaon Bhima (Maharashtra): Deputy Chief Minister Aji Pawar and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Prakash Ambedkar paid tributes at the 'Jay Stambh' here on the 202nd anniversary of Koregaon Bhima battle, on Wednesday.

Thousands of people visit Koregaon Bhima village to offer tributes on the anniversary of the battle, which was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy.

Speaking to reporters, Prakash Ambedkar said that some people were planning for riots during the event about which the police have been informed.

"Some people were planning for riots. The police have been informed about it," he said and added, "The government has made good arrangements this time. I appreciate it." Heavy security deployment has been made to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the event. As many as 10,000 police officers, over 500 CCTV cameras and 15 drone cameras are keeping strong vigil on the event.

Pune District administration has pressed 250 buses to carry the visitors while 50 other buses have been kept in reserve.

Land spread on 250 acres at 15 different places has been earmarked for parking, Pune DM Naval Kishor said, adding that high mast lights have been installed for proper lighting.

"We have tried to instil a sense of confidence about security and safety in the surrounding villages. Water, toilet, medical aid, and other all facilities have been made for the visitors. We have kept in view all aspect and we have managed the crowd very efficiently," Kishor said.

Violence broke out during the bicentenary celebrations of the Bhima Koregaon battle on January 1, 2018 in which one person was killed and several others were injured.

In view of the ongoing countrywide protests, the Pune district police and administration have made stringent security arrangements to ensure peaceful celebrations with over 10,000 police and some 500 officers deployed in and around Koregaon-Bhima since Tuesday.

All schools and colleges are shut for the day, the traditional weekly market has been cancelled, the Pune-Ahmednagar highway has been closed or restricted for traffic, and all sensitive spots are being monitored by CCTVs and drones.

Ahead of Wednesday's celebrations, the police have served notices to over 250 WhatsApp group admins and around a dozen pages were deleted from Facebook to prevent spread of misleading information via social media networks.

Besides, the Pune Police had slapped notices to more than 725 people, including right-wing leaders like Sambhaji Bhide Guruji and Milind Ekbote and banned their entry to the village.

The initial plans of the Bhim Army to take out a rally here were dropped as its leader Chandrasekhar Azad is booked for the CAA protests.

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Free Press Journal