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Bhima-Koregaon violence: Maharashtra cripples as protests spread

13 January 2018

The Maharashtra bandh called by Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) leader and Dr B R Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar is being seen as a massive show of strength by Dalits in the state.

"Clashes between Dalit and Maratha groups broke out on Monday during an event to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district, during which a man was killed and several others were injured".

(Web Desk) - India's low-caste Dalit community were celebrating memorial of a 200-year-old British military victory, which ended up in mass protests in the state of Maharashtra.

Samiti convener Vittal Doddamaini addressing a rally said that inthe Bhima-Koregaon battle the dalits who fought for British EastIndia Company defeated the Peshwa army comprising Marathas.

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Marathwada region continued to reel under tension on Wednesday in a sequel to the January 1 Koregaon-Bhima incident.

The battle involved hundreds of Dalit fighting on the side of the British, with nearly 900 soldiers that deterred Peshwa forces estimated to be nearly 20,000.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered the Crime Investigation Department (CID)-led probe into the death of a youth in the violence and announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the victim's kin. A large section of Dalits view the historical battle as the defeat of the "casteism" of upper-caste Peshwas. The traffic of several state highways was haulted while many express and local trains services were suspended, crippling the life.

Two major roads in Mumbai's Bandra have been blocked by protesters, so all shops were forced to close down for the day. Dalits began protests in suburban Chembur, Ghatkopar, Kamraj Nagar, Vikhroli, Dindoshi, Kandivali, Jogeshwari, Kalanagar and Mahim, police said. The Mumbai police, meanwhile, issued a statement appealing to people not to believe in rumours and verify facts with the police before posting anything on social media.

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Mumbai police registered nine cases on Wednesday in connection with violent protests in the city on Tuesday.

He told the Maharashtra Left Front and the Maharashtra Democratic Front, alongside some 250 other organizations have held up and sustained the call for shutdown as per various reports.

Saamana advised Ambedkar to not use the violence to fulfill his political agenda and said that a true leader is the one "who gives direction to the crowd and not the one who instigates the violence".

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Bhima-Koregaon violence: Maharashtra cripples as protests spread