Bhima Koregaon battle anniversary: Internet could be shut down as a precautionary measure
The Pune rural police and Pune district administration are equipped with precautionary measures like internet shutdown as police officials prepare to tackle potential law and order situations in the district’s Bhima Koregaon area on January 1, 2020. The day marks 202 years since the battle of Bhima Koregaon was fought between the Peshwas and the British East India Company army which comprised local Mahar population.
An official from the special branch of Pune rural police claimed that the decision about the internet services will be taken by the office of district collector Naval Kishore Ram.
“We are not in favour of disconnecting the internet, but it will depend on the situation on that day. We have the authority to do so. We will be monitoring the situation closely and then make a decision,” said Ram.
On January 1, a multitude of people are expected to come to pay homage at Vijay Stambh or victory pillar on the banks of the Bhima river. In 2019, the internet services were shut down for a few hours as a precautionary measure.
The district administration and the police leadership held a meeting in the run-up to the annual event that had witnessed violent protests in 2018. One person had died, several injured and cases were registered against hundreds of people for causing riots and destruction of property. Two separate investigations were opened – one into the violence and the other into an event organised a day before in Pune, called the Elgar Parishad.
Another monument in the area marks the resting place of Govind Gopal Mahar, a 17th-century peasant who Dalit groups and some historians believe performed the last rights of Maratha king Chhatrapati Sambhaji, the son of legendary Chhatrapati Shivaji, in defiance of a decree passed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.