Bhima Koregaon violence: Athawale seeks inquiry, addl police

Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale has demanded police protection for Dalits in the wake of violence during the event to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district today.

"Dalit groups visiting Bhima Koregaon village in vehicles were halted at Sanaswadi, a village near Koregaon. Stones were hurled at them. No police force was available for their protection," Athawale said in a statement here.

He appealed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to deploy additional police force in Bhima Koregaon village and provide protection to members of Dalit community.

He also demanded an inquiry into the incident.

According to police, violence erupted this afternoon after a group of people and some members of the crowd on its way to visit the war memorial in Bhima Koregaon had a heated exchange on some issue, which triggered stone-pelting.

Some vehicles and a house in the vicinity was also damaged, police said.

The situation in the village is under control now.

In the battle of Bhima Koregaon, fought on January 1, 1818, the army of Peshwa Bajirao II was defeated by the British army which had a large contingent of dalit Mahars.

Some Dalit leaders and thinkers view it as a victory of oppressed classes over the upper-caste establishment of those times.

Earlier in the day, dalit leader and Independent MLA from Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani visited the memorial in Bhima Koregaon.

Yesterday, he attended "Elgaar parishad" in Pune to commemorate the 'victory battle'.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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