Fadnavis orders probe into death of youth in Dalit rally in Pune, seeks SC intervention

The incident had occurred on Monday when lakhs of Dalits assembled in Pune.

Fadnavis orders probe into death of youth in Dalit rally in Pune, seeks SC intervention

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that a request would be made to the Supreme Court for a judicial probe into the Koregaon violence that led to the killing of one youth in Pune.

He further said that an investigation by the CID would be conducted into the death of the youth, announcing a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of the victim.

The incident had occurred on Monday when lakhs of Dalits assembled in Pune to attend an event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

During the event, violent clashes erupted between Dalit and Maratha groups, leading to the death of the youth.

More than five lakh people, mainly from the Dalit community, had assembled in Pune this year for the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle, in which British forces had defeated an army of Peshwas on January 1, 1818. 

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community -- then considered untouchable -- were part of the East India Company's forces.

However, some right-wing groups in Pune had expressed opposition to celebration of the 'British' victory.

Incidents of stone-pelting and vandalism occurred at Bhima Koregaon in Shiroor tehsil when people were heading for the war memorial in the village, police said.

A man died in the violence, a top police official told PTI late in the evening. However, his identity and how exactly he died was not known yet, the officer said.

The violence erupted after a local group and some members of the crowd on its way to the memorial had an argument over some issue.

"Stone-pelting started after the argument. During the violence, some vehicles and a house in the vicinity were damaged," a police officer deployed for security at Bhima Koregaon said without elaborating.

He said the police stopped traffic on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway for sometime following the incident.

The situation in the village is under control now, he said.

"More police personnel, including companies of the State Reserve Police Force, have been deployed," the officer said.

He said mobile phone networks were also blocked for some time to stop circulation of inflammatory messages.

The battle of Bhima Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818. Some Dalit leaders and thinkers view its outcome as a victory of oppressed classes over the upper-caste establishment of those times.

(With agency inputs)

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