Sec 144 imposed in Bhima Koregaon

The Asian Age.

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The Pune collector banned mobile network to stop videos or morphed videos getting spread to contain the riot-like situation.

The collector has banned mobile network till Jan. 2.

Pune: Ahead of an event on ‘200 years of Bhima Koregaon battle’, section 144 has been imposed around Bhima Koregaon in Pune. Violence broke out with incidents of stone-pelting and vehicle-burning at Bhima Koregoan in Pune district on Monday after two groups attacked each other with stones after an altercation. Rahul Phatangale (28), a youth who was injured in violence succumbed to injuries while under treatment at Sassoon General Hospital, Pune on Monday night.

Hundreds of Dalits had gathered at Bhima Koregaon to commemorate the battle 200 years ago, in 1818, between the Maratha army of the Peshwa and the then-British army’s Mahar regiment in which the latter won. It was alleged that the ones who gathered to pay tribute came under attack when stones were hurled at them. The Pune collector banned mobile network to stop videos or morphed videos getting spread to contain the riot-like situation.  

Rajendra Muthe, resident collector, Pune imposed section 144 of the IPC in the affected area, banning unlawful assembly of people with deadly weapon. “Many social programmes are being held at Bhima Koregoan that falls under Haveli and Shirur Tehsil of Pune for Bhima Koregoan Shourya Gatha Diwas. We are imposing section 144 based on reports received by police as incidents of stone pelting were reported. We have asked mobile companies to shut the networks till January 2,” Mr Muthe said.

A.S. Khilare, police sub inspector, Shikrapur said that there were incidents of stone pelting and arson. “We are investigating the matter. As of now no FIR or complaint is filed. However the situation is under control now.”

A police official on the condition of anonymity said that on December 30, a few upper caste people from Wadhuj Budruk, Shirur tehsil allegedly broke memorials of Ganapati Gaikwad, a dalit (mahar), who performed the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj after the Mughals killed him in 1689, and warned people to not to perform his last rites otherwise they would kill them. But despite that Gaikwad had performed the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj. The Shirur police booked 49 people from the upper caste under Atrocity Act after they allegedly vandalised memorial of Sambhaji Maharaj and Gaikwad last week.

On Monday, a group from the upper caste clashed with Dalits who had assembled at Bhima Koregoan to commemorate the 200 years of Bhima Koregaon battle. Ashok Akhade, a Dalit participant said, “When we reached Koregoan in the morning all shops were closed. Some men from saffron groups started pelting stones at us. The police came later in the afternoon.”

Condemning the incident, Congress schedule caste cell president Dr Raju Waghmare demanded a judicial probe into the violence at Bhima Koregaon, Pune “The cops were aware that lakhs of people were coming but still no arrangements were made to maintain law and order. The RSS workers were creating tension in the area since last few days.” Despite repeated attempts, director general Satish Mathur did attend our calls.

Union minister of state for social justice Ramdas Athawale demanded police protection for dalits. “Dalit groups visiting Bhima Koregaon village in vehicles were halted at Sanaswadi and stones were hurled at them. No police force was available for their protection,” he said.