Mumbai: Violence between the Dalit and Maratha communities was reported in Pune on Monday, after lakhs of Dalits gathered in the city to attend an event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon. The clashes had led to at least one person being killed and several injured. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday also said that the government will request the Supreme Court to conduct a judicial inquiry into the clashes that erupted near Pune.
Since last evening, incidents of stone pelting have been reported from Aurangabad which have resulted in public property loss. Section 144 has been imposed in some areas of Aurangabad.
This protest then moved to Mumbai on tuesday when a group of protesters stopped the traffic on Eastern Express Highway (at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar, Cheda Nagar and Kamraj Nagar).
The mob has broken protests in and around Chembur, Govandi, Bhandup, Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in Vikhroli and Nehru Nagar in Kurla. The harbour line has been affected with trains being delayed from Kurla to Vashi. Apart from that, the traffic on Sion-Panvel highway has also been diverted. However, the Mumbai Police has tweeted asking the people of Mumbai not to panic.
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RPI workers were reportedly seen stalling the traffic on the roads. The Dalit groups sought for action against the culprits in the clash at Pune a day before and protesters called for a ‘bandh’ in Mumbai on Tuesday. Shops were shut down in Mulund, Govandi and a ‘Rasta Roko’ protest was observed at Chembur PL Lokhande road, Amar Mahal Junction. The Left stands in complete support of a bandh tomorrow.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident. The probe order was however rejected by Prakash Ambedkar, former MP and grandson of B R Ambedkar.
“The judicial inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is not acceptable to us. The government should request to chief justice of Bombay High Court to appoint sitting judge to probe this incident. The judge should have the powers to collect the evidence and to punish the culprits. The inquiry should be conducted by a non-Dalit judge,” said Prakash Ambedkar.
“A sitting High Court judge will head the inquiry and the youth’s death would be probed by the CID,” PTI quoted Fadnavis saying as the government went into the damage-control mode. He also announced a Rs. 10 lakh grant to the kin of the youth killed, as he appealed for calm and peace, saying Maharashtra was a progressive state which did not believe in casteist violence.
As per sources, Police is probing the Jignesh Mevani link to the Dalit clashes. Jignesh Mevani rubbishes the allegations. “Of course they would try to blame it on me wouldn’t they. They can’t accept their own failure of mismanaged law and order.” “I didn’t instigate any violence. I have only spoken from the heart. And if they felt what I said was right – it only shows how much the Dalits have been angry and how much they have been ignored for so many years. I don’t preach violence. Let me be clear on that.” he added.
As per the latest news and reports, hints of protests have broken out in parts of Nagpur and Solapur too. While the traffic and harbour line trains have started moving, the bandh has still been demanded and called for.