Pune and other parts of western Maharashtra once again witnessed violent protests on Sunday, this time over morphed pictures of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar going viral on social media.
The latest round of protest has come after last week’s agitation over derogatory pictures of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Bal Thackeray going viral through social networking sites. The protests led to the killing of a 28-year-old IT graduate, Mohsin Shaikh, allegedly by members of Hindu Rashtra Sena.
Despite the police blocking online pages of social networking sites posted with distorted pictures of Ambedkar, unidentified people pelted stones at public transport buses. The sporadic nature of the protests have perplexed police officials, who are probing how Pune and neighbouring areas are becoming the epicentre of violence.
Till Sunday evening, 25 buses were damaged in different parts of the district with protests still going on, forcing police to beef up the security in troubled areas.
“The protesters damaged public transport buses at different locations including Sinhgad road and Kalyani nagar in Pune and Kalewadi and Bhatnagar in neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad,” said Deepak Pardesh, PRO, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited, the municipal transport body.
“There are indications that some people have downloaded circulating derogatory pictures among their groups through Whatsapp despite the police blocking objectionable pages,” said joint commissioner of police Sanjay Kumar.
The police have arrested four people while an offence has been lodged against unidentified persons for posting morphed pictures on social networking sites.