Dalit groups call off Maharashtra bandh after Prakash Ambedkar meets Mumbai Police: Ten key points

The Maharashtra bandh called by Dalit organisations to protest the violence after an event to mark the 200th anniversary of Bhima-Koregaon battle was withdrawn on Wednesday evening.

Here are the ten key points from the bandh on Wednesday:

1. Dalit groups call off strike after Prakash Ambedkar holds talks with police

Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and Dalit icon BR Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar called off the shutdown on Wednesday afternoon.

He had called for the Maharashtra bandh to protest the state government's "failure" to stop the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district two days ago.

2. Maharashtra home ministry says no Dalit killed in Bhima Koregaon violence Calling the situation in Maharashtra "peaceful", Minister of State Deepak Kesarkar claimed on Wednesday that there had been no death from the Dalit community.

3. Dalit groups protest outside residence of Milind Ekbote, the man allegedly behind Bhima-Koregaon incident

A group of protesters surrounded the residence of Milind Ekbote, who was booked by Pune Police under relevant sections of the Prevention of Atrocities Act and "orchestrating” the violence at Bhima-Koregaon.


A large group of protesters gathered outside his home in Model Colony area in Pune.

4. Normal life hit in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad

Normal life in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and a few other areas in Maharashtra was disrupted as protesters attacked buses, stopped suburban local services and blocked roads at various places.

In view of protests in Mumbai, police diverted traffic for smooth movement of traffic. Stone pelting was reported at a few places on the Harbour line.

Commercial establishments in Nashik and Satpur, Ambad, Nashik Road localities remained closed. Buses of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and auto rickshaws too remained off the road.

Buses of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited were pelted with stones, an official said. Since Tuesday, 42 buses were damaged in stone pelting and since Wednesday morning, 10 to 12 busses were damaged in the city.

Schools and colleges were shut in most affected areas. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University remained closed for the entire day.

Around 5.30 pm, after the bandh was called off, traffic diversions in various places of Mumbai were affected. In the main city area, Mela Junction, Worli Naka, Malet/Orange Gate Junction were affected. The Eastern Express Highway witnessed congestion at Sion Junction, Amar Mahal Junction, Chhedanagar Junction, Ramabai Nagar, and Mankhurd Junction. Traffic diversions in LBS Road and JVLR were affected, while the Eastern freeway also witnessed some congestion. In the Western suburbs, traffic in Samata Nagar and Akurli Road was affected.

5. Film, TV shoots affected

The state-wide bandh called by Dalit groups affected the film and television industry with some shoots being disrupted and others being cancelled as a precautionary measure.

A song launch event of Kartik Aryan's upcoming film "Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety" scheduled for Wednesday at a popular suburban restaurant was cancelled.

"There was an ad shoot lined up but it is not happening now. No shoots are currently happening at the studio," a functionary from Mehboob studio said.

6. War of words in Parliament over Bhima-Koregaon incident

As a ruckus was created in the Rajya Sabha soon after the triple talaq bill was introduced, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Opposition was using the issue of Bhima-Koregaon violence to deliberately prevent the passage of the Bill.

The Opposition, which was demanding the prime minister's statement on the issue, reacted strongly and Prasad was shouted down.

"We condemn the statement by the law minister that we are raising Bhima-Koregaon violence issue to stall the Bill. We have been raising the issue of Dalit atrocities as this government is anti-Dalit," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Rajya Sabha.

Dalit groups protesting at Thane railway station during the Maharashtra Bandh on Wednesday. PTI

Dalit groups protesting at Thane railway station during the Maharashtra bandh on Wednesday. PTI

7. Train services affected

In Mumbai, protesters jumped on the rail tracks of Harbour line at Govandi, Mankhurd and Kurla, due to which suburban services towards Panvel, Belapur and Vashi were stopped for a few hours.

Similar protests at Thane, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli and Ghatkopar stations on Central Railway led to a long queue of trains on tracks.

Several trains running towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus were halted at various stations because of the protesters who stood on the tracks.

Hundreds of commuters were spotted walking on the railway tracks. On the Western Railway, protesters obstructed services at Nallasopara Station.

Services of AC locals were suspended for the day. However, there was no cancellation of long-distance trains, the Western Railway informed.

Mumbai-Hyderabad Hussain Sagar Express was held up just before it reached Kurla station. A ticket counter was vandalised at Dombivali station.

8. Ambedkar Samaj supporters try to barge into Mumbai collector's office

Ambedkari Samaj, comprising several Bahujan organisations, came together to protest the Bhima-Koregaon attack. A delegation went to meet the Mumbai collector and submit a memorandum on the issue.

However, after the Dalit leaders' group realised that the collector was not in office and their memorandum would not be accepted, some agitated members of the Ambedkari Samaj tried to force their way into collector's office building. Kherwadi Police eventually closed the gates and prevented a break-in after women protesters took lead and tried to barge in.

9. Congress and NCP call for peace

As violent protests were reported from Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, political parties reacted cautiously, appealing for peace.

State NCP president Sunil Tatkare said the need of the hour was to restore peace and harmony in the state.

"(NCP chief) Sharad Pawar has already said that everybody should try to ensure that there is peace and harmony," Tatkare told PTI.

Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said incidents of violence at Bhima Koregaon and elsewhere in the state were unfortunate. "There is an attempt to create a social divide which we have to foil unitedly," she said.

The government has ordered a judicial inquiry and "root cause of the violence will be clear after the probe," she added.

The district collector and police should have taken appropriate steps to help those stranded at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district after the violence on 1 January, she said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan told PTI that restoring normalcy should be the priority. "Just an inquiry is not enough. Strict action against the guilty is needed. There should be an inquiry by a sitting judge appointed by the chief justice," he said.

10. Students protest in Delhi outside the Maharashtra Sadan

Security outside the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi was scaled up as protests continued in Maharashtra on Wednesday.

Students belonging to All India Students Association (AISA) protested against the Bhima-Koregaon violence in Maharashtra, reported CNN-News18. The student protesters demanded judicial probe against those responsible for the violence.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Jan 04, 2018 07:05 AM

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