Ahead of Bhima Koregaon battle anniversary, police prohibit Milind Ekbote, Kabir Kala Manch leaders from visiting memorial

According to the Pune Police, provocative speeches at the conclave, said to have been funded by Maoists, triggered violence at Bhima Koregaon.

Press Trust of India December 28, 2018 23:52:27 IST
Ahead of Bhima Koregaon battle anniversary, police prohibit Milind Ekbote, Kabir Kala Manch leaders from visiting memorial

Pune: Ahead of the 201st anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon, the Pune rural police have prohibited several persons including Hindu right-wing leader Milind Ekbote, members of the cultural organisation Kabir Kala Manch and others from visiting the war memorial and the surrounding area.

The memorial of the 1818 victory of the East India Company's forces which included Dalit Mahar soldiers over the Brahmin Peshwa's army is visited by Dalits every year on 1 January.

Ahead of Bhima Koregaon battle anniversary police prohibit Milind Ekbote Kabir Kala Manch leaders from visiting memorial

File image of Milind Ekbote. Facebook/@milind.ekbote.73

However, the place, 40 kilometres from Pune city, witnessed violence during the bicentennial commemoration of the battle on New Year's day in 2018.

"So far we have issued notices under Section 144 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to several people and barred them from visiting Bhima Koregaon area," said Superintendent of Police Sandip Patil.

Notices were issued to all those against whom cases of serious nature were registered with regard to the violence of 1 January, he said.

Right-wing leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Ekbote are accused of instigating the violence as they were opposed to the celebration of the British victory in the 1818 battle. On the other hand, some members of the left-leaning cultural group KKM are accused of involvement in the Elgar Parishad conclave. According to the police, provocative speeches at the conclave, funded by Maoists,  triggered violence at Bhima Koregaon the next day.

Meanwhile, the Pune city police are issuing notices to those who can create law and order trouble ahead of 1 January, said joint commissioner of police Shivaji Bodakhe.

Asked whether permission has been granted to Bhim Army chief and Dalit leader Chandrashekhar Azad's rally in the city on 30 December, Bodakhe said the decision will be taken Saturday.

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