Bhima-Koregaon clashes: Complaint lodged in Pune against Jignesh Mevani, Umar Khalid for giving 'provocative' speeches

Pune: The police on Tuesday said they had received a complaint against Gujarat MLA and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid for their "provocative" speeches at an event in Pune on 31 December.

Mevani and Khalid had attended the "Elgar Parishad", an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, at Shaniwar Wada in the city on 31 December.

According to the complainants — Akshay Bikkad and Anand Dhond — Mevani and Khalid had made "provocative" comments at the event. Bikkad and Dhond, both locals, approached the Deccan Gymkhana police station with an application and demanded the registration of a case against Mevani and Khalid for allegedly promoting enmity between different communities.

"Mevani provoked the people to come out on the streets and retaliate. Due to this statement, people took to the streets and tension gripped the city," according to the complaint.

File image of Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. Facebook @Jignesh Mevani

File image of Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. Facebook @Jignesh Mevani

A senior officer attached to the Deccan Gymkhana police station confirmed the receipt of the complaint application. He added that it would be forwarded to the Vishrambaug police station, under the jurisdiction of which Shaniwar Wada fell, for further action.

Clashes between Dalit groups and supporters of right-wing Hindutva organisations during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district had left a man dead on Monday.

The clashes broke out at Bhima-Koregaon when people were headed towards the war memorial in the village, about 30 kilometres from Pune city, the police had said. Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, which the forces of the British East India Company had won over those of the Peshwa.

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community — then considered untouchables — were part of the East India Company's forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins and the victory was seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.

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Published Date: Jan 03, 2018 09:09 AM | Updated Date: Jan 03, 2018 09:35 AM

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