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Dalit delegation meets CM in Mumbai, demands arrest of right-wing leaders for Pune violence

Prakash Ambedkar-led group meets CM Devendra Fadnavis, demands action against Milind Ekbote, Sambhaji Bhide

mumbai Updated: Jan 04, 2018 16:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Dalit protests,CM Devendra Fadnavis
There were Dalit protests across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane on Wednesday.(Bachchan Kumar)

A delegation of Dalit leaders led by Prakash Ambedkar met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday to follow up on their demands after the withdrawal of their one-day statewide bandh that brought Mumbai to its knees on Wednesday.

Ambedkar, who has now emerged as the face of Dalit leadership, said the delegation discussed demands in connection with the violence that erupted at Bhima Koregaon, near Pune, during the bicentennial celebration of the British-Peshwa war.

“We have clearly pointed out [the accused] and police complaints have been registered against Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide. We want speedy action against them for perpetuating violence, and the CM has promised us that they will be arrested,” said Ambedkar at a press conference held after the meeting.

The delegation also demanded that the inquiry commission that is to be appointed to look into the Bhima Koregaon incident be vested with the power of criminal and civil courts. “We have noticed that such inquiry commissions lack teeth as they are only recommendary in nature. We demanded that this commission should have powers of civil and criminal court so that it can even sentence those who are found guilty. The CM has agreed to this demand,” Ambedkar said.

Ambedkar, the founder of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and grandson of BR Ambedkar, said they had also asked for the police to stop combing operations in their hunt for miscreants. Instead, he said, Dalit organisations would work with the police once they are given a list of those who are to be charged for violence.

According to Ambedkar, not just Dalits were part of the Bhima Koregaon incident, there was also a big section of members of Other Backward Classes (OBC), and everyone is furious with the way they were beaten up. “There is simmering anger still over being beaten up. Some of that dissipated in Wednesday’s bandh, but many are asking why Hindus are beating us up when we are also Hindus,” he said.

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 16:23 IST