Pune violence: Ready to handle today’s Maharashtra bandh, says top cop | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Pune violence: Ready to handle today’s Maharashtra bandh, says top cop

Prakash Ambedkar, who called for Wednesday’s bandh, said the incident in Bhima Koregaon was a pre-planned attack on Dalits by fringe elements

mumbai Updated: Jan 03, 2018 10:05 IST
A torched fire brigade van at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune on Tuesday.
A torched fire brigade van at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune on Tuesday.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Following the protests over the Bhima Koregaon violence, Dalit outfits in the state have called for a Maharashtra bandh on Wednesday.

Prakash Ambedkar, president of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh and grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, said: “Hindutva outfits are responsible for the violence. The government should take steps to arrest the guilty to avoid terrible repercussions.”

Maharashtra police chief on Tuesday said they were ready to tackle the situation. “We have made arrangements at all locations such as highways, railways and sensitive areas,” Satish Mathur, director general of police, told HT. “Additional reinforcements have been provided in towns and cities that have a history of group violence.”

Ambedkar called Monday’s incident a pre-planned attack on Dalits by fringe elements. “The stones were kept ready on terraces of buildings on Koregaon-Shirur Road. Milind Ekbote of Hindu Ekta Sanghatana and Sambhaji Bhide of the Shivraj Pratisthan are behind the violence and should be arrested immediately,” he alleged.

The Pimpri police have booked Ekbote and Bhide under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Dalit leader and writer Arjun Dangle blamed the BJP government for the incident. “Ever since the BJP-led government came to power, Hindutva organisations have a free reign. They attack anyone as they are confident of protection from the ruling party,” Dangle said.

Ambedkar ruled out that it was a clash between Marathas and Dalits, saying that the Sambhaji Brigade, one of the front for Maratha outfits, had organised the programme to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle, and are even supporting the bandh. He said even the descendants of Peshwas and the Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasabha, which initially opposed the function, agreed after negotiations.

Police personnel have been instructed to keep a watch on mobs on Wednesday. “Wherever required, we will impose section 144 to regulate crowd and control rumour-mongering,” said Mathur. “Senior officers have been deployed to avoid panic or gatherings which could be unlawful or lead to any violence.”

Railway police sources said necessary precautions have been taken in view of rail rokos. Security has been beefed up at railway stations across the city and in neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai as well.

“We are on high alert and as we don’t have any reserves. We had asked for additional manpower for which we have been provided 100 constables on all three railway lines,” said Niket Kaushik, commissioner, GRP.

The police have urged people to maintain peace and not spread rumours or incite communal hatred, and have warned that action would be taken against rioters and those spreading rumours.