Every January 1, the Jaystambh in Perne village near Bhima Koregaon draws thousands of Dalits, predominantly Ambedkarites, paying homage to soldiers believed to have fought against alleged Peshwa casteism in 1818. It is believed that the British Army comprising 500 soldiers from the Mahar community defeated a 28,000–strong force of upper-caste Peshwas in a battle.
This year, as with previous ones, anticipates a massive turnout, further fueled by political parties and activists given the forthcoming elections. To manage this, stringent security measures are in place at Jaystambh, including traffic diversions and free Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) buses arranged for the occasion.
The annual event poses a challenge due to the violence that occurred in Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, resulting in one fatality and numerous injuries. To prevent any untoward incidents, the Pune district administration has organised an extensive deployment of law enforcement officers and implemented additional measures for a peaceful gathering. District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh, Pune City Police Commissioner Retesh Kumaarr, Superintendent of Pune Rural Police Ankit Goyal, and other officials are vigilantly overseeing security and civic arrangements.
Approximately 5,000 police personnel, including State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) battalions, alongside bomb detection and disposal squads, will be stationed at Jaystambh and areas around Bhima Koregaon and Vadhu Budruk villages to uphold law and order throughout the event. Drones and CCTV cameras will be utilised for monitoring suspicious activities in the vicinity.
As a precautionary measure, authorities have issued notices to various individuals, including activists from different groups, local residents, and others involved in cases related to the Bhima Koregaon violence. They have been instructed to avoid the region on the day of the event.
The Pune Rural Police have issued traffic diversions in anticipation of the January 1 event. According to an order by the Pune Rural Police Superintendent dated December 25, invoking Sections 115 and 117 of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, National Highway 60 will be closed to vehicular traffic from December 30, 5pm, until midnight on January 1.
During this period, there will be no traffic movement between Shikrapur and Chakan in either direction. Vehicles travelling from Shikrapur to Chakan and vice versa will not be allowed. Traffic from Ahmednagar and Mumbai heading towards Pune will be redirected at Shirur Nhavra Phata. Ahmednagar-bound vehicles will be diverted from the Kharadi-Hadapsar-Solapur highway to Shirur Nhavra Phata and further to Nhavare-Paragaon Kedagon junction, proceeding towards Ahmednagar.
Heavy vehicles such as trucks travelling from Mumbai to Ahmednagar will be rerouted via Wadgaon Maval-Talegaon-Chakan-Khed-Narayangaon and Alephata towards Ahmednagar. Light vehicles including cars and jeeps coming from Mumbai and Thane will also follow the same diversion, directed through Wadgaon Maval-Talegaon-Chakan-Khed-Narayangaon, Alephata, and Pabal towards Ahmednagar.
Free PMPML buses
The PMPML has arranged free bus services on December 31 and January 1 to accommodate the surge of visitors heading to Jaystambh in Bhima Koregaon. Here are the designated pick-up points:
From Lonikand police station limits:
Wrestling Ground, Lonikand
Khandoba Mal, Lonikand
Military School, Phulgaon, Tulapur Road
Chinchwan Hotel/Y Junction, Tulapur Road
From Shikrapur police station limits:
Jeet Parking, Waqf Board
Jadhav Parking, Chakan Road
Torana Hotel, Shikrapur Parking
Vadhu Parking, Inamdar Hospital