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Rally in Mumbai: Union minister Athawale says unity is the need of the hour

Athawale evoked the name of King Shivaji and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, saying they both are two sides of the same coin.

mumbai Updated: Jan 23, 2018 00:17 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Mumbai rally,Bhima-Koregaon violence,Ramdas Athawale
Traffic slowed down owing to the to RPI Unity March from Chatiyabhoomi to Naigaum on Monday.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

In his unity rally on Monday, Union minister Ramdas Athawale emphasized on the need to forget the Bhima-Koregaon incident for the sake of unity in Maharashtra.

In his speech, after a three-kilometer rally, which started from Chaityabhoomi and ended at Naiguam, Athawale said that unity among the Dalits and Maharashtrians was the need of the hour. “Dalits are a small community and we cannot get justice by keeping such memories. It is time to forget this incident for the unity of Maharashtra,” said Athawale. He took both communities to task for the incident. “We don’t blame the entire Maratha community,.” “Even my party workers attacked the police forces. However, the chief minister has assured me, he will remove cases of my party workers,” he added.

The rally evoked poor response from the party workers. Since it was held in the evening, covering major areas like Dadar, it caused traffic jams.

Athawale evoked the name of King Shivaji and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, saying they both are two sides of the same coin. “All the Malvas (soldiers) were united during Shivaji’s time. Dr Ambedkar took all insults in his stride as for him, the country was supreme,” he said. Violence erupted at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, during the Dalit celebrations of the 200th year of the British-Peshwa war in which Dalit soldiers played a pivotal role in ensuring victory for the British. Some attribute the violence to the discontentment between the Marathas and the Dalits.

Athawale took a dig at Prakash Ambedkar andsaid the bandh was a success because of the role played by the Republican Party of India (A).

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 00:17 IST