Violence against Dalits takes ugly turn in Maharashtra, spreads to Mumbai

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The caste violence that started on Monday spread to Mumbai on Tuesday as the Maxim city was brought to a standstill with protesters demanding action against those involved in clashes in Pune.

violence
Photo- ANI

Angry Dalits staged rail and road blockades and took out processions in Mumbai and carried out agitations in different parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday to protest against violence in Pune a day ago which left one youth dead.

The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, a Dalit party headed by Prakash Ambedkar – the grandson of Bharat Ratna B.R. Ambedkar, called for a ‘peaceful Maharashtra shutdown’ on Wednesday to express anger over the Pune incidents.

On Tuesday afternoon, thousands of Dalits took to the streets in Chembur, Mankhurd, Ghatkopar, Bhandup and other strongholds in north-eastern parts of the city demanding action against the perpetrators of the Pune riots.

Scores of Dalit youth blocked the Harbor Line of Central Railway near Chembur on Tuesday afternoon, leading to stoppage of the local train services for hours.

Several lakhs of commuters were stranded on stations or in stationary trains and many preferred to walk on the railway tracks to their destinations.

Similarly, hundreds of youths swooped onto the roads in eastern suburbs asking shops, restaurants and commercial establishments to down shutters, and staged road blocks.

At least one person was killed and many injured on Monday as the event to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district was marred by incidents of stone pelting and vandalism. There were reports that those who attacked the Dalits had allegiance to the RSS and BJP as veteran journalist Nikhil Wagle tweeted;

 

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced a judicial probe by a sitting High Court judge and a CID investigation into Monday’s violence in Koregaon-Bhima.The annual event is marked to commemorate the victory of the British Army comprising Dalits over the upper-caste Peshwas on 1 January, 1818.

A report by PTI said that the incident occurred in Bhima Koregaon in afternoon when people were heading towards a war memorial in the village. Local police said that the violence erupted after a group and some members of the crowd on its way to visit the memorial had an argument over some issue.

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