Pune police take preventive action ahead of 201st Bhima Koregaon anniversary
The Pune rural SP Sandeep Patil has issued directions restricting entry of Samasta Hindu Agha President and Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, Shiv Prathistan Hindustan leader Sambhaji Bhide and members of Kabir Kala Manch in and around the Vijay Stambh (obelisk) in Bhima Koregaon as part of the security measures.
Also, as part of unprecedented security measures, 20,000 cops will be stationed in and around Koregaon Bhima.
Patil said, “Orders have been issued to all those accused in the case who now cannot go near the Vijay Stambh area during the celebrations on January 1.”
Members of the Republican Party of India (RPI) had demanded that both, Ekbote and Bhide must not be allowed to visit the area on January 1, during a special review meeting held at the district collectorate which was chaired by district guardian minister Girish Bapat.
Meanwhile, the rural police along with city police are taking strong action against antisocial elements spreading misinformation on social media.The preventive action has already started in rural and city limits of Pune district, police officials who attend the meeting said.
Patil further said that permission to hold public meetings has been granted to different Dalit outfits namely Republican Party of India, Dalit Cobra and Bharat Mukti Morcha and other organisations. District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “The permission application of Bhim Army’s public rally has not been tabled before the office till date.” However, he made it clear that permission will be rejected if the district administration comes to know that provocative speeches will be delivered during the function.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in Bhima Koregaon and its adjoining villages- Lonikand, Perne, Vadhu Budruk, Sanaswadi and Shikrapur.
Last year, the bicentenary celebrations observed by the Dalits at the victory pillar erected by the British at Bhima Koregaon in Pune district were marred by large-scale violence and clashes between Dalits and Hindutva organisations. These celebrations were preceded by the Elgar Parishad conclave, organised by Dalit and left-leaning groups, at Shaniwarwada, the seat of Peshwa power in Pune.
A coalition of 260 organisations under the umbrella of ‘Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan’ had organised the conclave on December 31 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon battle. This year, the district administration has said 12 lakh Dalits are expected to attend the 201st commemoration event on January 1, 2019.
Restrictions on mobile internet likely on January 1
The Pune police along with the district administration are considering imposing restrictions on the usage of mobile internet on January 1, taking into account the large number of people that will be attending the 201’st commemoration of the battle of Bhima Koregaon and the incidents that took place last year.
The estimated number of people attending the event is in between 8 to 10 lakh according to district administration officials. However officials of Dalit organisations,say the number of attendees is likely to go up, owing to the social media messages urging people to attend the memorial. Elaborate preparations have been made to the effect and the Sarpanchs of all the nearby villages have declared full support to the event and will be physically present for the function.