Dalit protest throws traffic out of gear in Mumbai and Pune; Riot police called in
Clashes between members of Dalit and Maratha communities from January 1 resulted in large-scale protests by the former a day later.
Mumbai: Traffic on the Eastern Highway here came to a standstill on Tuesday morning after an event to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district turned violent. Clashes between Dalit and Maratha communities affected not just road movement but also took a toll on local trains on the Harbour Line.
— ANI (@ANI) January 2, 2018
A day earlier, on Monday, one person was beaten to death and several vehicles were torched when members of the Dalit community were allegedly attacked by members of the Maratha community. This was a direct fallout of celebrations of British troops over Peshwa Bajirao II’s forces on January 1 of 1818 in a battle in which Dalit soldiers were part of British forces. As a result, simmering tensions with the Maratha community inflamed.
— jitendrajain (@jitendrajain) January 2, 2018
'Raasta Roko' was attempted at several locations across Mumbai but the biggest impact of the unrest was seen on the Eastern Highway and on Harbour Line. Mumbai police took to Twitter to calm the situation. “There is nothing to panic. Verify facts with police officers and men before posting anything on social media.”
Don’t believe in rumours. Traffic on Eastern expressway was affected due to protests. It’s moving now. Traffic at Chembur Naka is still affected. There is nothing to panic. Verify facts with police officers and men before posting anything on social media.
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) January 2, 2018
While Section 144 has been imposed in Chembur and other parts of eastern suburbs, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has also said that his government will request the Supreme Court for a judicial inquiry into the clashes during the celebration of 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in Pune district.