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Strong Dalit reaction in Vidarbha region

The violence has been spontaneous in almost all the areas with residents of Dalit areas and bastis spilling onto the streets, reports Pradip Kumar Maitra.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 01:50 IST

After the outcome of Khairlangi Dalit massacre, Vidarbha region is witnessing again arson and violence in protest against the desecration of Dr Ambedkar statue in Kanpur.

According to reports reaching Nagpur, tension gripped several areas in Buldhana, Khamgaon, Akola and Nagpur districts following widespread Dalit protests over the Kanpur incident.

Dalit women and children in Buldhana city gathered on the streets and pelted stones on buses. The agitated mob damaged two buses and even tried to set them afire.

The leaderless mob paralysed the vehicular traffic of Malkapur-Buldhana state highway for over two hours.

Tension also prevailed in Dalit dominated Khamgaon township in the district. Two state road transport buses were also damaged by a Dalit crowd in Khamgaon. 

Violent incidents were reported too at Pimpri Gawli village in the district, informed Nikhil Gupta, the district superintendent of police. The district police have rounded up over 20 persons in this connection. Gupta claimed that the situation was now totally under control and people were cooperating.

Nagpur is tense after Nitin Raut, the Congress legislator from North Nagpur, a Dalit dominated area, was detained by the police late Wednesday night when he had led a morcha  in protest against the Kanpur episode.

He was later released by the police. A heavy police bandobast was made in the locality after the incident.

Akola which saw protests after the Khairlangi incident, was also tense. Incidents of arson and violence were reported in the city on Thursday morning. Most of the Schools and shopping areas in the city were shut down till afternoon.

The violence has been spontaneous in almost all the areas with residents of Dalit areas and bastis spilling onto the streets.

Trouble began when a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar was desecrated in a Kanpur locality on Wednesday night. Within hours, protests broke out in Kanpur followed by protests in various towns of the region, including Akola, Nagpur and Buldhana.

Vidarbha region, particularly Nagpur has a major Ambedkar following. Dr Ambedkar embraced Buddhism in Nagpur about 50 years back.

The region also saw Dalit mobilisation recently after the `rape’ and murder of four members of a Dalit family at Khairlanji in neighbouring Bhandara district.

Email Pradip Kumar Maitra: pradipmaitra@hindustantimes.com