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Rajya Sabha MPs cutting across party lines condemn Maharashtra caste violence, demand judicial inquiry

New Delhi: Members in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday condemned the spate of caste violence in Maharashtra and demanded an impartial and speedy judicial inquiry to punish the culprits.

The House, which had witnessed disruption of proceedings over the issue on Wednesday, held a brief discussion when several members appealed for peace and unity among the various sections of the society.

Initiating the discussion, Rajani Patil of Congress alleged that atrocities against Dalits had taken place under the watch of the Maharashtra government and demanded setting up of a commission to investigate the entire incident.

She also alleged that people behind the violence were associated with "Hinduwadi" outfits and demanded action against them.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu had asked the members to help bring the situation under control and not say anything which may escalate tension.

"Our approach should be to see that tempers come down and situation is brought back to normalcy. We should not accelerate the tension. After all, it is a social conflict," he said.

A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK) said the country should concentrate on development instead of caste and religious issues.

 Rajya Sabha MPs cutting across party lines condemn Maharashtra caste violence, demand judicial inquiry

File image of a Dalit protest on the streets of Mumbai on Wednesday. Firstpost/Neerja Deodhar

Nadimul Haque (TMC) said the Maharashtra matter is not an isolated incident and a pattern is emerging. "This political lynching should immediately stop," he said while demanding an impartial judicial inquiry.

Dilip Kumar Tirkey (BJD) demanded immediate action those involved in the violence against dalits.

CPM leader TK Rangarajan alleged "tactical" support of the Maharashtra administration, ruling party and the police for the incident.

He said an inquiry into the incident should be conducted by a sitting Supreme Court judge.

Veer Singh (BSP) blamed "bhagwa jhandadhari" (saffron flag bearers) for the violence and seconded the demand of Rangarajan for a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the apex court.

NCP chief and former Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar apprised the House about the history of the Bhima-Koregaon event and the sentiments of Dalits associated with it.

The veteran leader said he could recall that in the past 50 years, no violent incident has taken place, but this time, unfortunately stone-pelting was done on a massive gathering.

Pawar said the state administration should have been more vigilant as a large gathering was expected in Pune and asked people to forget the incident and move one.

He suggested that everyone should cooperate to bring about peace and harmony among the different sections of the society, amid thumping of desks by members of both ruling and Opposition parties.

DMK member Kanimozhi said the violence should not be looked as an "isolated incident" and efforts should be made to find a "long-term solution" for safety and security of dalits.

BJP's alliance partner Shiv Sena too termed the incident as unfortunate and appreciated the state government's "patience" in dealing with the situation.

Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) said all such incidents should be not linked with Hindu organisations and alleged that an "invisible hand" is working to divide and rule the socity.

D Raja (CPI), Ramdas Athavale (RPI), Amanr Shankar (BJP), BS Bhunder (SAD) and Sambaji Chhatrapati (BJP) also expressed their views.

Yesterday, protesters had attacked buses, stopped trains and blocked roads at various places in Mumbai as normal life was hit in the city and other parts of Maharashtra during a bandh called by Dalit groups to protest the violence on the anniversary of a battle fought 200 years ago.

Violence had erupted in Pune on 1 January, when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the British defeated the Peshwas of Maharashtra.

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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2018 14:51:33 IST

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