With an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, political parties are trying to create rift between Marathas and Dalit communities in Maharashtra. The event to mark the 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune turned violent as one person was killed after clashes erupted between Dalit and Maratha groups in the city. After this incident, violence has spread in other parts of Maharashtra as Dalit activists called for rasta roko in Mumbai. The Marathas had earlier held peaceful demonstrations across the state in support of their demand for Maratha reservation. When they had not disrupted law and order then how could they resort to violence now? Dalits have urged the government to take action against miscreants responsible for violence. Often political parties have tried to gain mileage by creating differences between Dalits and Marathas. They incite communal riots to consolidate their respective vote banks. The common man has to bear the brunt of violence as protestors halt trains and vandalise buses bringing the day to day life to a standstill.
Dilip Walse-Patil, senior NCP leader said, “The event has been celebrated peacefully every year and many people participated in it. It’s unfortunate that violent incidents were reported this year. A probe must be carried out to ascertain which group is responsible for clashes. The state government should have taken steps to beef up the security of the area before the event to prevent violence.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that he would request the Supreme Court to initiate a judicial inquiry into Monday’s violence.
Deepak Kesarkar, Shiv Sena leader and Minister of state for Home said, “I condemn the communal clash incidents occurring in Maharashtra which has always been known as a progressive state. Some groups had issued provocative statements which resulted into clashes. The government should have taken steps to avert violence. Local residents had to face inconvenience due to clashes and shopkeepers had to shut their shops.”
Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, has announced a state-wide bandh on Wednesday as a protest against the police inaction.
Vijay Kamble, BHIM army spokesperson said, “Some groups were resorting to stone pelting incidents from the top of a building. How can someone throw stones from a building unless they make arrangements for it in advance? This is a pre-planned incident. Our activists had sustained severe injuries. The Bhartiya Brahman Mahasangh had opposed the Yalghar Sabha in Pune. They are trying to create a rift between Dalit and Maratha communities in the state. The government has failed to take action against miscreants.”
Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale has demanded police protection for Dalits after the violence.
Justice B G Kolse-Patil, former judge of Bombay High Court said, “This is a pre-planned move and an attempt has been made to communalise this incident. 250 people had participated in the Yalghar Sabha held in Pune and they had opposed PM Modi’s policies. This is a state sponsored violence. The government is planning to form a judicial committee to look into this matter but it won’t make any difference. The video clearly shows who is responsible for inciting communal violence but no action has been taken against them. After Modi government came to power they are trying to divide the nation on communal lines.”
When we spoke to Hansraj Ahir Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs he refused to comment about this matter and said that he is unaware about violence incidents occurred in the state.