64 externed, preventive action against 1,211 persons ahead of Bhima Koregaon anniversary in Pune
The Pune rural police have externed 64 persons on grounds that they could foment trouble during the upcoming 201st anniversary of the battle Bhima Koregaon at Perne Phata on January 1. Special Inspector General (Kolhapur range ) Vishwas Nangre Patil said that 64 persons, who have criminal cases lodged against them and could be potential miscreants, have been externed outside the district limits.
Patil further said that preventive action has been taken against 1,211 persons under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973. Naval Kishore Ram, district collector, said that the district administration has taken effective steps to provide a safe and secure environment for lakhs of Dalits who are going to visit the victory memorial at Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
The district administration is expecting the turnout to be around 10 lakh and 20,000 policemen will be on duty to maintain law and order during the event. Sandip Patil, Pune Superintendent of Police, said that secret cameras embedded in helmets and kept in pockets of the policemen will be used to track down miscreants as a part of heightened security measures around Bhima Koregaon.
“Permission has been given for rallies and adequate number of safeguards are in pace for the smooth conduct of the commemoration function. We don’t want a repeat of this year’s violence and so have roped in the villagers from all the nearby places for this year’s programme. The villagers themselves have come forward to assist the Dalit community,” said Patil.
Meanwhile, Dalit community members had opposed the state administration’s decision to restrict mobile Internet usage on January 1. When asked about the issue, Nangre Patil said that the decision to continue or discontinue the Internet services will depend on the intensity of virulent messages being circulated on social media. “Our cyber crime cell is keeping a tab on it and appropriate action will be taken accordingly,” he said.
State government was a participant in the riots
Vaman Meshram, President, BAMCEF, an organisation working for Dalits said that the state government was a participant in the Bhima Koregaon riots and was actively saving the masterminds of the violence. He further said that the Bhima Koregaon obelisk must be declared as a national war monument and come under the control of the central government.
Bhim Army chief likely to visit Pune for the rally
The Pune police have denied permission to Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad to hold a public rally scheduled to take place on the SSPMS college grounds on Sunday. The Mumbai police, too, had on Friday denied permission to Azad. The action came after the SSPMS college refused to grant permission to use their premises for Azad’s rally.
Azad is currently under detention in Mumbai. It is unlikely that Azad will be able to reach the city for the Pune rally. Police commissioner K Venkatesham said, “We have not given them permission so far as the venue owners have denied the ground for the rally,” said Venkatesham, adding that in the absence of police permission, Azad will not be allowed to go ahead with the rally.
Bhim Army, however, has been adamant in holding the public event. In its statement, the Bhim Army said that it will go ahead with its programme in Pune as planned on December 30, even if the police permission is denied.
The Pune unit of the Bhim Army has planned a massive gathering on December 30, to be addressed by its leader and founder, Azad.
Earlier on Friday, the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) also denied permission to a Bhim Army programme which was going to be held on Monday. According to Datta Pol, the Pune unit President of Bhim Army, the Dalit leader has planned to visit the Vijay Stambh in Perne village and shower flowers on it from a helicopter on January 1. The Bhim Army office-bearers said that they have decided to carry on with its plan to hold interactions between Azad and the students at SPPU’s Aniket canteen on the scheduled day.