Ramdas Athawale to lead Unity March in Mumbai on Jan 22, urges Marathas to join

Avinash Mahatekar, national general secretary of RPI, on Thursday urged Maratha leaders to join the march

mumbai Updated: Jan 19, 2018 12:26 IST
Eeshanpriya MS
Eeshanpriya MS
Hindustan Times
RPI (A) leader Ramdas Athawale.(Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO)

Union minister Ramdas Athawale-led Republic Party of India (A), an NDA ally, will hold a march between Chaityabhumi and Naigaon in Dadar on January 22, to promote harmony between the Marathas and Dalits. The development comes after the Bhima-Koregaon violence on January 1 when Dalits were celebrating the bicentenary anniversary of a British-Peshwa war.

The unrest led to a Maharashtra bandh on January 3. Dalit leaders blamed two Hindutva leaders for instigating people at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune.

Athawale will lead the rally called ‘Unity March’, which will end in a public meeting and a speech. Avinash Mahatekar, national general secretary of RPI, on Thursday urged Maratha leaders to join the march.

On the other hand, Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, and chief of BRP Bahujan Mahasangh who was at the forefront of the agitation after the Bhima-Koregaon violence, continues to threaten fresh protests if right-wing leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote are not arrested.

Mahatekar said, “The RPI has called on all communities and Maratha leaders to join hands and participate in the rally. Senior BJP leaders from the Maratha community should also participate in the march. However, our demands, including immediate arrest of Ekbote and Bhide, remain unfulfilled.”

Following the Maharashtra bandh, Mahatekar had lashed out at Ambedkar for “using the unrest to gain political mileage”. Mahatekar said the bandh was called to put chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Athawale in bad light.

Mahatekar on Thursday alleged that the bandh called by other Dalit leaders spoiled the social fabric of the state, saying that it is important to stay united at such times. Referring to the bandh, Mahatekar said causing damage to public property, hurling baseless allegations at other communities are harmful to the unity of society. “We need to control the damage and come together,” he said.

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 00:57 IST