Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Communal Organisations Violence

Poking the Eye of the Tiger

Sabrangindia Staff 02 Jan 2018

Protests across Maharashtra following attacks on Dalits on New Years Day


Dalit Protest
Vishrantwadi      
 
Spontaneous protests led by Dalit activists and community members were held in many parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai, Satara, Pune and Aurangabad on Tuesday. This follows attacks on Dalit community members who had gathered at BhimaKoregaon near PuneonMonday, January 1 to commemorate the bi-centenary of the battle held at the spot.This is an important date in Dalit History as the Bombay Native Infantry that defeated the Peshwas army in the said battle, was comprised largely of Mahar Dalit soldiers. The attack on Monday was allegedly led by members of the Maratha community. Many attackers were also seen carrying saffron flags and heard chanting, “Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji.”
 
Protests in Mumbai
In Mumbai, activists upset with the government’s failure to prevent or control Monday’s attack, gave a call to block roads and railways on Tuesday. Trains were therefore, running 30 to 40 minutes late during rush hour. Protests also took place around Amar Mahal, Lumbini Baugh, Chembur, Bhandup, Eastern Express Highway andMulund. The protesters blocked the junction near Amar Mahal and stayed there for about half an hour. The activists said, “The police started lathi charging and firing to move the protesters”. Additional Commissioner of Police LakhmiGautam said, “There are groups of people attempting a raastaroko (to block the way). The police has managed to avoid it so far.”Meanwhile, Sunil Singh, Associate Editor, NDTV India was physically assaulted by some people, allegedly belonging to the Republican Party of India (RPI), while covering developments near the flyover near Ramabai Nagar.Even in Badlapur, a curfew like situation prevailed where shops were closed and Auto rickshaws refused to ply.
 
Protests in Pune
Similarly, several organisations participated in protests that took place in the PimpriChinchwad area of Pune. A large crowd also gathered in the Vishrantwadi locality and marched with Dalit pride flags and chanted slogans. Protests caused shops to remain shut in the Nagar Road area in Viman Nagar and the nearby Ramwadi Village. The Republican Party of India (RPI) organised a protest meeting near the Dr BabasahebAmbedkar Bridge near the Pune Railway Station. According to Rashmi Shukla Police Commissioner Pune to Companies of SRPF have been deployed along with quick response team and a DCP at all sensitive places.

Dalit Protest2
Nagar Road, Ramwadi
 
How the Story Unfolded in Pune
On Monday, at Bhima Koregaon, many eye witnesses who did not want to be named, said “This was bound to happen. Just a few days back a person belonging to “Neechi Jaati”(“lower castes”) was harassed by upper caste locales residing in the area. Tension was already brewing up.” Despite knowledge that there was a likelihood of a riot like situation, the police forces were found highly unequipped to deal with the situation. Not only this, initially hardly a handful were present on the location where the attacks on Dalits started. More forces were rushed after several vehicles were burnt and the situation worsened. This is typical strategy to let things ferment in cases of mob violence and riots.
 
Only after several hours of reportage of incidents of violence from Bhima Koregaon, the Inspector General of Police,  Kolhapur Range,  Vishwas Nagre-Patil said, “We have cordoned off the roads leading to the Koregaon memorial...Heavy police bandobast has been deployed...A majority of the miscreants were hiding in the farms along the Pune-Ahmednagar highway and pelting stones,” he said.After yesterday’s incidents, a senior police official said “Among the five injured, one person succumbed late in the evening at Sassoon hospital.”

Dalit Protest
Pune City
 
Activists have now expressed the concern that despite there being clear evidence of the assault by Marathas, a narrative is being constructed that these are “clashes” between Dalits and Marathas. A press conference was held by BharipMahasangh in the leadership of BalasahebAmbedkare at the Press Club in Mumbai to plan for further action against the perpetrators of the violence.
 
Demands by Dalit Activists
Dalit groups have sought action against those involved in the violent attacks on people visiting BhimaKoregaon yesterday.SheetalSathe, a well-known folk singer and prominent Dalit rights activist, and her group along with other like-minded social activists are currently staging a sit-in protest or dharna at the Shivaji Statue at Powai Naka in Satara. Speaking to Sabrang India, Sathe said, "The dharna started at about 1:30 pm near the Shivaji Statue. Earlier today, we have given a 'nivedanpatr' to the Satara SP SandipPatil where they have made three demands. First and foremost, the Chief Minister should resign as he has failed to utilise the Home Department to maintain law and order. Secondly, protection should be provided to all Dalit bastis. Finally, the three villages who had boycotted Dalit groups who were on their way to VadhuBudruk, should not only be prosecuted for social boycott of Dalits, but also made to pay damages as it was because of their stone pelting that people were injured and vehicles damaged." 
 
Political Reactions
In a statement released today, Aam Aadmi Party also condemned Chief  Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s silence on Bhima Koregaon attack and his failure to keep peace. The statement said, “It is shameful that saffron groups were allowed to go on a rampage against Dalits. The right wing groups themselves worship India's most hated terrorist and assassin NathuramGodse but they threaten others from paying tributes to their heroes - this kind of hypocrisy is being encouraged by the government.” The statement mentioned that the Maharashtra police failed to keep the peace and his administration failed to show any sympathy towards the victims.
 
Image Courtesy: Saadia Samdani

(With special inputs from Saadia Samdani)

 

Poking the Eye of the Tiger

Protests across Maharashtra following attacks on Dalits on New Years Day


Dalit Protest
Vishrantwadi      
 
Spontaneous protests led by Dalit activists and community members were held in many parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai, Satara, Pune and Aurangabad on Tuesday. This follows attacks on Dalit community members who had gathered at BhimaKoregaon near PuneonMonday, January 1 to commemorate the bi-centenary of the battle held at the spot.This is an important date in Dalit History as the Bombay Native Infantry that defeated the Peshwas army in the said battle, was comprised largely of Mahar Dalit soldiers. The attack on Monday was allegedly led by members of the Maratha community. Many attackers were also seen carrying saffron flags and heard chanting, “Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji.”
 
Protests in Mumbai
In Mumbai, activists upset with the government’s failure to prevent or control Monday’s attack, gave a call to block roads and railways on Tuesday. Trains were therefore, running 30 to 40 minutes late during rush hour. Protests also took place around Amar Mahal, Lumbini Baugh, Chembur, Bhandup, Eastern Express Highway andMulund. The protesters blocked the junction near Amar Mahal and stayed there for about half an hour. The activists said, “The police started lathi charging and firing to move the protesters”. Additional Commissioner of Police LakhmiGautam said, “There are groups of people attempting a raastaroko (to block the way). The police has managed to avoid it so far.”Meanwhile, Sunil Singh, Associate Editor, NDTV India was physically assaulted by some people, allegedly belonging to the Republican Party of India (RPI), while covering developments near the flyover near Ramabai Nagar.Even in Badlapur, a curfew like situation prevailed where shops were closed and Auto rickshaws refused to ply.
 
Protests in Pune
Similarly, several organisations participated in protests that took place in the PimpriChinchwad area of Pune. A large crowd also gathered in the Vishrantwadi locality and marched with Dalit pride flags and chanted slogans. Protests caused shops to remain shut in the Nagar Road area in Viman Nagar and the nearby Ramwadi Village. The Republican Party of India (RPI) organised a protest meeting near the Dr BabasahebAmbedkar Bridge near the Pune Railway Station. According to Rashmi Shukla Police Commissioner Pune to Companies of SRPF have been deployed along with quick response team and a DCP at all sensitive places.

Dalit Protest2
Nagar Road, Ramwadi
 
How the Story Unfolded in Pune
On Monday, at Bhima Koregaon, many eye witnesses who did not want to be named, said “This was bound to happen. Just a few days back a person belonging to “Neechi Jaati”(“lower castes”) was harassed by upper caste locales residing in the area. Tension was already brewing up.” Despite knowledge that there was a likelihood of a riot like situation, the police forces were found highly unequipped to deal with the situation. Not only this, initially hardly a handful were present on the location where the attacks on Dalits started. More forces were rushed after several vehicles were burnt and the situation worsened. This is typical strategy to let things ferment in cases of mob violence and riots.
 
Only after several hours of reportage of incidents of violence from Bhima Koregaon, the Inspector General of Police,  Kolhapur Range,  Vishwas Nagre-Patil said, “We have cordoned off the roads leading to the Koregaon memorial...Heavy police bandobast has been deployed...A majority of the miscreants were hiding in the farms along the Pune-Ahmednagar highway and pelting stones,” he said.After yesterday’s incidents, a senior police official said “Among the five injured, one person succumbed late in the evening at Sassoon hospital.”

Dalit Protest
Pune City
 
Activists have now expressed the concern that despite there being clear evidence of the assault by Marathas, a narrative is being constructed that these are “clashes” between Dalits and Marathas. A press conference was held by BharipMahasangh in the leadership of BalasahebAmbedkare at the Press Club in Mumbai to plan for further action against the perpetrators of the violence.
 
Demands by Dalit Activists
Dalit groups have sought action against those involved in the violent attacks on people visiting BhimaKoregaon yesterday.SheetalSathe, a well-known folk singer and prominent Dalit rights activist, and her group along with other like-minded social activists are currently staging a sit-in protest or dharna at the Shivaji Statue at Powai Naka in Satara. Speaking to Sabrang India, Sathe said, "The dharna started at about 1:30 pm near the Shivaji Statue. Earlier today, we have given a 'nivedanpatr' to the Satara SP SandipPatil where they have made three demands. First and foremost, the Chief Minister should resign as he has failed to utilise the Home Department to maintain law and order. Secondly, protection should be provided to all Dalit bastis. Finally, the three villages who had boycotted Dalit groups who were on their way to VadhuBudruk, should not only be prosecuted for social boycott of Dalits, but also made to pay damages as it was because of their stone pelting that people were injured and vehicles damaged." 
 
Political Reactions
In a statement released today, Aam Aadmi Party also condemned Chief  Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s silence on Bhima Koregaon attack and his failure to keep peace. The statement said, “It is shameful that saffron groups were allowed to go on a rampage against Dalits. The right wing groups themselves worship India's most hated terrorist and assassin NathuramGodse but they threaten others from paying tributes to their heroes - this kind of hypocrisy is being encouraged by the government.” The statement mentioned that the Maharashtra police failed to keep the peace and his administration failed to show any sympathy towards the victims.
 
Image Courtesy: Saadia Samdani

(With special inputs from Saadia Samdani)

 

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

India

Kashmiri Pandit Protest continues for seventh day

Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.

India

Kashmiri Pandit Protest continues for seventh day

Multiple Protests continue, for more than seven days, over Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat’s murder in the Valley. Supported by Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Sikhs, the protestors have come forward to accuse the BJP led administration of sending people, who are desperate for jobs, in risky areas with no security and a meagre salary.

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives