Maharashtra bandh called off, Mumbai expected to return to normalcy soon


Mevani and Khalid had attended the "Elgar Parishad", an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, at Shaniwar Wada in Pune.

Mumbai: Sporadic incidents of violence paralysed parts of Maharashtra in a day-long state-wide shutdown called by various Dalit parties on Wednesday amid tight security.

Violence erupted in Pune on January 1 when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the British defeated the Peshwas of Maharashtra. Right-wing groups have been blamed for the clashes. "Police is taking combing operations in Aurangabad and that they should stop immediately", said Ambedkar. He said it needed to be ascertained if there was a conspiracy behind yesterday's violence.

The Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, has asked for a judicial inquiry into Monday's violence.

Ambedkar also demanded that police arrest Bhide Guruji and Milind Ekbote for inciting mobs against people who had gathered at Bhima Koregaon on January 1.

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The battle involved hundreds of Dalit fighting on the side of the British, with nearly 900 soldiers that deterred Peshwa forces estimated to be nearly 20,000. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits. "The RSS and certain hardcore Hindutva outfits are behind the Bhima-Koregaon violence".

"A central pillar of the RSS/BJP's fascist vision for India is that Dalits should remain at the bottom of Indian society".

"PM should speak on the rising number of incidents against Dalits, from Vemula suicide to Una in Gujarat to Saharanpur in UP and now Bhima Koregaon". The traffic of several state highways was haulted while many express and local trains services were suspended, crippling the life. Parts of Mumbai came to a near standstill after Dalits blocked roads in several areas and forced shops to shut. Groups of youths from Chembur, Vikhroli, Mankhurd and Govandi joined the protest, the police said.

Mumbai Police registered nine cases today in connection with violent protests in the city. "The police find it hard to manage crowds and they have to undergo severe stress to bring situation under control during bandh". A youth in Nanded died unfortunately.

Moily also said if anyone could restore confidence among people and send a strong message, it is the prime minister and that he should have made a statement in parliament on the issue. "On the other hand, if he has announced the bandh to unite Dalits then it is right". "There is an attempt to create a social divide which we have to foil unitedly", she said. The editorial said that a true leader is the one "who gives direction to the crowd and not the one who instigates the violence".