Parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai and Pune witnessed widespread violence after clashes between Dalits and Maratha groups. Transport services, school and colleges remained closed as a precautionary measure in the wake of the protests. Mumbai Police, Pune cyber cell both the organisations are repeatedly asking people to maintain calm, and do not believe or spread any rumours. Asking the people of the state to continue with their normal routine, the administration said that all security arrangements are in place. Meanwhile, a strict action will be taken against those who are found guilty in spreading rumours, the Pune cyber cell said. Also, internet services in Aurangabad have been suspended.

How did Bhima Koregaon violence erupt in Maharashtra?

According to reports, tension erupted in Vadebudruk Village on December 29 after Ganesh Mahar’s tomb was dishonoured by some alleged right-wing elements. On January 01, the Dalit community people, who wanted to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the victory of Mahar soldiers against Peshwa soldiers, were asked by some group of men not to celebrate. Meanwhile, when people from the Dalit community who wanted to celebrate had come to Bhima Koregaon, another group carrying saffron flag was also carrying out a march at the same place. The violence started when both the groups crossed each other.

What is Koregaon-Bhima battle? 

The Koregaon-Bhima battle or Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima. Going by historical facts, around 800 Mahar soldiers clashed with a 28,000-strong force led by Peshwa Baji Rao II. Due to the belief of untouchability in that era, Mahar soldiers were not inducted into the army by Peshwas. According to Dalits, Maharas who approached the British, was inducted into their army. After their induction, British-led-Mahar army defeated Peshwas. Following this, a memorial at Koregaon-Bhima was installed as a tribute to those lost their lives in the battle.

Meanwhile, carrying the investigation in the case, the police is trying to identify those who had planned to take out the march. The police has so far detained few people and are currently carrying out the interrogation to find out who took the call to carry out the march.

Speaking after clashes took place in Maharashtra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s while giving his reaction to the incident said, “I am told that some outsider, right-wing elements are instrumental in provoking violence. Dalits have been visiting Bhima Koregaon for years, (but) there was never any trouble.”

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