FIR against Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid; Mumbai event organisers held, students detained

The Mumbai Police on Thursday cancelled an event which was to be attended by newly-elected Gujarat MLA and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid.

FIR against Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid; Mumbai event organisers held, students detained
Image Credit: ANI

Mumbai: The Mumbai Police on Thursday cancelled an event which was to be attended by newly-elected Gujarat MLA and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid in connection with their provocative speeches made earlier.

According to reports, the authorities today sealed an auditorium in the Vile Parle locality where the event was scheduled to take place. The authorities claimed that this has been done to maintain law and order in the city, a day after the Maharashtra bandh called by Dalit leaders over Bhima-Koregaon violence.  

Confirming the development, Sagar Bhalerao, the vice president of Chhatra Bharati and the organiser of the event, said, ''Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mewani had been invited to this event. This had been fixed earlier, but it has now been cancelled.''

''We had booked Bhaidas Hall for All India National Students' Summit here today, but now we are being denied entry. The reason police is citing is the news doing the rounds about Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mewani for the past few days,'' Bhalerao, the organiser of the event, was quoted as saying by ANI.

The authorities have also detained the organisers of the event - Sachin Bansode, president of Chhatra Bharati, his deputy Sagar Bhalerao and an MLC  Kapil.

Meanwhile, Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code has also been imposed at the venue, reports said.

Section 144 restricts the assembly of more than five people at a place. 

However, the cancellation of the event has triggered minor clashes between student groups and the police.

Hundreds of students had gathered outside the venue to attend the event who are now being forcibly evicted.  

Several students have been taken into preventive custody by the Mumbai Police following minor clashes outside the venue of the event.

The Mumbai Police had earlier received several complaints against Mevani and Khalid for making "provocative" speeches at an event here on December 31.

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 the city on December 31.

According to the complainants, Akshay Bikkad and Anand Dhond, Mevani and Khalid had made "provocative" comments at the event.

Bikkad and Dhond, both locals, approached the Deccan Gymkhana Police Station with an application and demanded the registration of a case against Mevani and Khalid for allegedly promoting enmity between different communities.

"Mevani provoked the people to come out on the streets and retaliate. Due to this statement, people took to the streets and tension gripped the city," according to the complaint.

A senior officer attached to the Deccan Gymkhana Police Station confirmed the receipt of the complaint application, according to PTI.

He added that it would be forwarded to the Vishrambaug Police Station, under the jurisdiction of which Shaniwar Wada fell, for further action.

ANI today reported that an FIR has been registered against Mevani and Khalid under Sections 153(A), 505 and 117 of the IPC at the Vishrambaug Police Station.

Meanwhile, normalcy returned in Mumbai a day after the Maharashtra bandh called by the Dalit outfits to protest against the deadly Bhima-Koregaon violence in Pune. 

The Mumbai Police today claimed that it has registered a total of 16 FIRs relating to incidents of violence during Maharashtra bandh yesterday and more than 300 miscreants have been detained.

The action from Mumbai Police comes three days after violent clashes between Dalit groups and supporters of right-wing Hindutva organisations during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district left a man dead. 

The clashes broke out at Bhima-Koregaon when people were headed towards the war memorial in the village, about 30 km from Pune city, the police had said.

Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, which the forces of the British East India Company had won over those of the Peshwa.

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community -- then considered untouchables -- were part of the East India Company's forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins and the victory was seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.

(With PTI inputs)

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