Mumbai: Normal life was hit in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra during a bandh called by Dalit parties on Wednesday. It was called off later in the day.
Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and BR Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar had called for the bandh to protest against the state government's 'failure' to stop the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district on January 1, 2017.
Later, announcing the bandh withdrawal, he alleged right-wing leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote were behind the Pune violence and demanded that they be arrested.
Violence had erupted when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa's army. Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community were part of the East India Company's forces.
On 1 January 1927, Dr BR Ambedkar had visited the memorial obelisk erected on the spot which bears the names of the dead including nearly two dozen Mahar soldiers.
Following are the top developments:
- Dalits staged protests in suburban Chembur, Ghatkopar, Kamraj Nagar, Vikhroli, Dindoshi, Kandivali, Jogeshwari, Kalanagar and Mahim, police said.
- Hundreds of protesters tried to block the Western Express Highway in the morning but were moved from the spot by police.
- Protesters jumped on rail tracks of harbour line at Govandi, Mankhurd and Kurla, due to which suburban services towards Panvel, Belapur and Vashi were stopped for a few hours, the official said.
- On the Western Railway, protesters obstructed services at Nallasopara station.
- Thirteen buses of the civic transport service 'BEST' were damaged by protesters in Kalanagar area (Bandra), Dharavi, Kamraj Nagar, Santosh Nagar, Dindoshi and Hanuman Nagar, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official said, as per PTI.
- Mumbai police registered nine cases on Wednesday in connection with violent protests in the city on Tuesday. Over 150 people have been detained in the city since Tuesday, police said.
- The Eastern Express Highway was blocked for over five hours as protesters blocked it, police said.
- Over 50 BEST buses were vandalised by protesters and four bus drivers were injured, police added.
- Protests also took place in Navi Mumbai, Thane, Aurangabad, Pune, Nanded, Parbhani, Washim, Akola, Sindhudurg, Raigad, Kolhapur, where incidents of roadblocks, vandalising and stone pelting were reported, police said.
- Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said those responsible for the caste violence in Pune will face action and the matter will be taken to its logical end.
- He added that the state government will soon approach the Bombay High Court, asking it to name a sitting judge to probe the violence at Bhima-Koregaon.
(With PTI inputs)