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Bhima Koregaon Violence: CM Devendra Fadnavis Assures Inquiry

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Dalit activist and grandson of BR Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar, has withdrawn the Maharashtra bandh, called to protest the violence at the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Koregaon-Bhima battle.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has assured inquiry into the incidents of violence, saying that CCTV footage of the violence is being monitored.

One person was killed and several injured after violence broke out during an event to mark the 1 January 1818 battle, which saw the British Army, comprising Mahar Dalits, defeating upper-caste Peshwas.

  • Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar has withdrawn the Maharashtra bandh call
  • Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has assured inquiry into incidents of violence
  • 100 people were detained across Mumbai, 35,000 police personnel have been deployed across the city
  • Schools and colleges remained shut on Wednesday
  • Internet services were suspended in Aurangabad
  • Journalists were attacked by protesters in Ghatkopar
  • Dalit leaders staged protests outside the BJP office in Surat’s Udhna
  • Two leaders from right-wing groups were booked under the SC/ST Atrocities Act
  • Complaints were lodged against Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid for allegedly making provocative statements on 31 December

Inquiry Will be Conducted Into the Incidents of Violence: Devendra Fadnavis

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday asserted that inquiry will be conducted into the incidents of violence that took place across Maharashtra.

"Inquiry will be conducted into the incidents of violence that took place across Maharashtra. We are monitoring the CCTV footage of the violence." - Devendra Fadnavis

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani Holds High-Level Meet After Bhima Koregaon Violence

As several parts of Mahashtra witnessed a bandh on Wednesday in the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held a high-level meeting in Gandhinagar.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Chief Secretary JN Singh as well as Transport and Home Department officials were present in the meeting.

The agitation had reached Gujarat earlier in the day, with Dalit leaders staging protests outside the BJP office in Surat’s Udhna.

Train Services in Mumbai Expected to Run Normally in the Evening

Here is the Central Railway update issued at 4 pm on Wednesday:

  • Suburban Trains run - 820
  • Trains cancelled - 110
  • Shuttle/special services run - 30
  • Delay 20-25 minutes. Evening peak services expected to run normally.

Long-distance trains update at 4 pm:

  • 150 mail/Express trains (including trains which pass through Mumbai).
  • No cancellation at all.
  • We are committed to ensure smooth operation of trains on Central Railway.

Dalit Leader Prakash Ambedkar Withdraws Maharashtra Bandh Call

Dalit activist and grandson of BR Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar has withdrawn the Maharashtra bandh call.

The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh told reporters that nearly 50 percent of the state's population took part in the shutdown.

Road blockades, arson and stone-pelting incidents were reported in Mumbai and elsewhere during the day.

However, Ambedkar, claimed that the bandh was peaceful.

There Has Been no Death of a Person From the Dalit Community: MoS Deepak Kesarkar

Speaking on the situation in Maharashtra, Deepak Kesarkar, Minister of State for Home (Rural) in the state, urged people to be cautious about the wrong messages being spread on social media.

"There has been no death of a person from the Dalit community. Wrong messages are being spread on social media. People have to be very cautious. Overall, the situation is peaceful in the state." - Deepak Kesarkar, MoS, Maharashtra

Some Shout Slogans, Others Hold Silent Protest

Protesters shouted slogans as they rallied on board their motorcycles outside the Dadar East station in Mumbai. They were trying to ensure that the shops in the area remain shut.

Protesters shout slogans as they rally on board their motorcycles outside Dadar East station. They are ensuring shops are shut #MaharashtraBandh mumbai #koregaonBhima @TheQuint pic.twitter.com/JCTH5rK3iN

— Ankita Sinha (@AnkitaSinha311) January 3, 2018

A silent protest was also held by members of the Ambedkari Kranti Dal outside the Dadar station.

Local Trains in Mumbai Running Intermittently

Local trains are running intermittently due to protests across different stations in Central Mumbai. The protesters have staged 'rail roko andolans', leading to accumulation of massive crowds at several stations.

Local trains are running intermittently due to protests across different stations in Central Mumbai #maharashtrabandh #KoregaonBhima @TheQuint pic.twitter.com/FucBc4koA2

— Ankita Sinha (@AnkitaSinha311) January 3, 2018

Political Leaders Spar Over Bhima Koregaon Violence in Rajya Sabha

The Bhima Koregaon unrest rocked Parliament on Wednesday, with the Opposition raising it in the Rajya Sabha.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged the issue was raised deliberately to stall the Triple Talaq Bill.

Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad condemned Prasad’s statement.

"We have been raising the issue of Dalit atrocities as this government is anti-Dalit." - Ghulam Nabi Azad

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said:

"Considering the way in which violence is occurring in Maharashtra in an organised manner and the kind of speeches that have been made, the opposition group should turn their attention to that." - Arun Jaitley

Protest in Gujarat

Dalit leaders staged protests outside the BJP office in Surat’s Udhna.

NDA Minister Ramdas Athawale Defends Jignesh Mevani

A complaint had been lodged against Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani for allegedly instigating violence with his speech at the Shaniwar Wada event in Pune on 31 December – an event attended by JNU scholar Umar Khalid, and Rohith Vemula’s family.

In a statement on 3 January, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale said:

"Police must have acted if Jignesh Mevani’s speech was instigating. But he has no relation with this incident."

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad pulled up the Centre for the “atrocities being inflicted on Dalits since the last 3 and a half years, since BJP came to power in the Centre”

Violence Escalates, Journalists & Media Reportedly Attacked

As protests intensify and violence escalates in Mumbai, reports of journalists being attacked by protesters have been coming in.

A reporter for NDTV was reportedly slapped by protesters. The Quint also found some demonstrators heckling TV reporters and forcing them to pack up their equipment and move.

That's WEH right now. pic.twitter.com/HDyVKyWqkh

— Shilpa Rathnam (@shilparathnam) January 3, 2018

The Mumbai Police has taken to posting regular updates on their Twitter page about what roads are safe, and which areas to avoid. Follow them here and stay safe.

Residents take to Twitter to share their horror at what appears to be a crisis that’s only growing stronger. The video below was shared from Bandra.

#BhimaKoregaonViolence #MaharashtraBandh #Bandra pic.twitter.com/PMzL1JnWJs

— neesshi oza (@neesshi) January 3, 2018

‘Rasta Roko’ protests at Andheri on Mumbai’s Western Express Highway

ANI reported that local AC trains have been suspended in lieu of the protests. Non-AC local train services will continue amid intermittent protests. Long distance trains, however, will continue with no cancellations.

Kharge Asks PM to Speak on Violence, Church Urges Peace

In the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that PM Modi make an appearance and issue a statement abouth the violence.

Mallikarjun Kharge also said, "A Supreme Court judge should be appointed for inquiry in Bhima Koregaon violence. The PM should also give a statement, he can't stay mum! He is a 'Mauni baba on such issues.”

Kharge also blamed the RSS for instigating the violence.

The Indian Express reported that The Catholics Bishops’ Conference of India issued a statement condemning the violence against Dalits and appealed for peace and harmony in Maharashtra. “We are saddened by the disturbing reports of an uncalled for attack on Dalits in Pune, Maharashtra,” it states in a press release, as reported by the Indian Express.

Transport Services Halted, Passengers Attacked, Mumbai in Crisis

In Thane, four people were injured after two buses and an auto were vandalised reportedly by protesters.

Security around Delhi’s Maharashtra Sadan has also been intensified in the wake of the Bhima Koregaon protests and violence.

Four passengers were injured after two Thane Municipal Transport buses and an autorickshaw were attacked in Chendani Koliwada  

Mumbai’s local trains have come to a standstill, with residents taking to Twitter to share the situation on the ground.

Ghatkopar station live at 11:45 am today @MumbaiPolice @CPMumbaiPolice @TimesNow pic.twitter.com/MjJl9AoXqr

— Pranay Vira (@pranayvira) January 3, 2018

The Mumbai metro line which passes through the airport as well, has been halted, effectively preventing people from reaching the airport.

Hindustan Times reported two separate incidents of stone-pelting from Pune at Sukhsagar Nagar bus terminus and Sinhagad Road.

Maharashtra Tense, Protests Continue, Transport at a Near Standstill

Protesters blocked off the eastern expressway and parts of Ghatkopar. 35,000 police personnel have been deployed across Mumbai, with demonstrators carrying Ambedkarite flags and holding road and rail roko protests.

Protesters block Eastern Express Highway 

35,000 police personnel have been deployed for security across Mumbai.

The Quint brings you this update on the Railways crisis.

Metro services between Mumbai’s Asalfa and Ghatkopar metro stations were stopped by protesters, ANI reported.

ANI reports shops being shut down forcibly in many parts of Mumbai with reports of protest from across the city.

It has started again.. they came on to roads again.. avoid ghatkopar thane highway #MaharashtraBandh pic.twitter.com/QSLfaEpdei

— Punjab Mail (@charugupta89) January 3, 2018

Protests have erupted in other parts of Maharashtra including Nagpur’s Shatabdi Square as well.

Notice Issued in Both Houses of Parliament Over Bhima Koregaon Violence

The Bhima Koregaon violence finds mention in Parliament. In both houses, Congress leaders moved for an adjournment on account of the Bhima Koregaon violence. Mallikarjun Kharge gave notice for adjournment in the Lok Sabha under Rule 56. In the Rajya Sabha, Congress MP Rajni Patil gave a notice for adjournment as well under Rule 267.

CPI leader D Raja gave zero hour notice in the Rajya Sabha over "increasing atrocities against Dalits."

Jan Adhikar Party leader and Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav gave an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over the Bhima Koregaon violence.

Internet Suspended in Aurangabad, Mumbai Crippled By Transport Crisis

Internet services in Aurangabad have been suspended and bus operations in and out of the city have taken a hit. While this continues, protesters have gathered in parts of Mumbai and even halted train services briefly.

Cabs and other transport services in Maharashtra are few and far in between. Inter-state buses from Karnataka to Maharashtra have also been suspended. Below is a video of a bus in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar that was allegedly attacked.

Bus vandalised at Bhatwadi in Ghatkopar #MahaCasteWar #maharashtra bandh #MahaCasteClashes #MaharashtraBand @HTMumbai @htTweets pic.twitter.com/V8abIlcQKl

— Yesha Kotak (@kotakyesha) January 3, 2018

Train services have taken another hit, with protesters occupying railway tracks.

Firstpost reported that suburban train services on Mumbai’s main, harbour, and trans-harbour lines were running uninterrupted save for a few minutes of agitation at Diwa, Titwala, and Vasind.

In parts of Thane, protesters halted buses and deflated their tires.

While the crisis continues, Mumbai police has urged calm and asked people to continue with their daily routines, despite the transport issues, reports of protests, and school closures.

Many Schools in Mumbai & Thane Shut

A number of schools & colleges in Mumbai, Pune & Thane remain shut today on account of the Bhima Koregaon violence and heightened safety concerns.

Transport Services Across Maharashtra Take a Hit

ANI reported that bus services to Pune’s Baramati and Satara had been suspended till further orders.

People seen waiting near Thane’s Vartak Nagar because of a lack of autorickshaws and other transport in the state.

ANI reported that a number of people were seen waiting in long lines, on account of little to no transport available. In parts of Mumbai, cab services were also unavailable, with apps Uber & Ola showing no cabs, or few cabs accepting passengers.

Agitations in Parts of Mumbai, Airlines Waive Cancellation Fees

CNN-News 18 reported, in a tweet, that there were agitations and bursts of unrest at Santosh Nagar Nala, Hanuman Nagar Bus Stop, Film City road, and Dindoshi in Mumbai.

Hindustan Times reported that airlines had waived cancellation charges for ticket cancellations and no-shows because of the continuing unrest.

Air India stated that it will not charge any fee for ticket cancellations or rescheduling of a journey to and from Mumbai on 2 and 3 January.

Private carriers Jet Airways and IndiGo extended the waiver to customers till 3 January and said this covers both Mumbai and Pune. Jet Airways which had waived cancellation charges in and out of Pune and Bombay have now extended the waiver to Aurangabad airport as well.

Colleges Shut, Dabbawallas Won't Work, Maharashtra Tense

The Mumbai Dabbawallas Association has announced that it will not run its delivery service today. The association is responsible for thousands of lunch and food deliveries every single day, and carries a reputation of diligent and regular work, often even in the most extreme conditions.

Head of The Mumbai Dabbawallas Association Subhash Talekar said that on account of difficulties finding transportation for the delivery of tiffins during a Maharashtra Bandh, they will not be operational today.

Increased Security Deployment Across Mumbai & Pune, Mumbai Police Urges Calm

Security across Mumbai has been raised on account of the Bhima Koregaon violence. ANI tweeted an image of increased police and reserve police forces presence in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar and Eastern Expressway. Mumbai is expected to remain tense today as dalit groups called for a Mahrashtra shutdown after the death of a civilian in attacks on dalits in and around Bhima Koregaon on 1 January.

Simultaneously, the Mumbai Police issued an advisory to residents to not believe rumours and to continue with their routine as usual.

Protesters Halt a Train, Section 144 Imposed in Thane till 4 January

ANI tweeted an image of protesters carrying flags of the dalit rights and Ambedkar movement, who had reportedly stopped a train at Thane station.

Protesters stop a train at Thane railway station.

"A few protesters tried to disrupt railway services at Thane but were immediately cleared by RPF and GRP officials. Services are running uninterrupted on Central Railway as of now." - CPRO, Central Railways

CNN News-18 reported that Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, restricting the unlawful assembly of persons, has been imposed in Thane on account of continued tensions and calls for a Maharashtra bandh by local pro-dalit groups.

No School Buses on Mumbai Roads Today

On account of the violence and unrest, no school buses will be active on the streets of Mumbai today, The School Bus Owners’ Association said to ANI.

"No school buses in Mumbai today, can’t risk students’ safety and security. Will take a second decision at 11 AM if we can run them in the second half, depending on the situation." - Anil Garg, School Bus Owners’ Association

Shiv Sena Alleges Political Conspiracy Behind Violence

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has alleged political conspiracy behind the Bhima Koregaon violence stating that there are “invisible hands that want to finish Maharashtra.”

"Today, there is work underway to divide our state on caste lines, and all of it is a political conspiracy. There are some invisible hands that want to finish Maharashtra because of its political greed. It is the Prime Minister’s duty to find out who that is." - Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP

Raut added that leaders in the past had never let the state be divided on caste lines.

Raut added that the widespread violence was “shocking, and a matter of concern to all" and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should track down the perpetrators.

RSS Releases Statement Condemning Violence

The RSS statement came on the tail of allegations by BSP chief Mayawati that the “BJP, RSS & other caste forces” were behind the violence, and an attack by Rahul Gandhi on the RSS and the BJP.

Complaint Filed Against Jignesh, Umar

A complaint was received on Tuesday against Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid at Pune's Deccan Police Station for allegedly making provocative statements that led to tension between the two communities.

Situation in Chembur is Now Under Control: The Quint Reports from Ground Zero

The situation in Chembur is now under control after #BhimaKoregaonViolence spilled over to Mumbai and other areas. The Quint's reporter @rounaknagpur brings you the updates. pic.twitter.com/as2OyQWaRV

— The Quint (@TheQuint) January 2, 2018

RSS-BJP Want Dalits to be at The Bottom: Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi snubbed the RSS-BJP for their “fascist vision”. “A central pillar of the RSS/BJP’s fascist vision for India is that Dalits should remain at the bottom of Indian society,” he wrote.

Mayawati Suspects BJP Hand in Violence

BSP Chief, Mayawati said she suspects a BJP-RSS hand in the violence that broke out during the anniversary of 200th year of the Battle of Koregaon.

"The incident could have been prevented. The government should have arranged for security. But instead the BJP government in Maharashtra allowed for violence to take place."

Umar Khalid Responds to "Misreporting"

Umar Khalid rubbished reports that suggested that he and Jignesh Mevani are responsible for stoking the violence that broke out on the 200th anniversary of Koregaon Battle near Pune between Dalit and Maratha groups.

Case Registered Against Two People

In Pune, cases were registered by the Pimpri police against Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who head the Hindu Ekta Aghadi and Shivraj Pratishthan respectively, for allegedly inciting the violence. The two organisations had opposed the celebration of "British victory" in the battle.

Watch The Quint's Ground Report from Chembur

100 Detained in Mumbai

More than 100 people have been detained over different locations across Mumbai.

Section 144 Imposed in Nanded

Solapur, Thane and Ahmednagar are a few other affected areas where stone pelting was report. Section 144 has been imposed in Nanded.

Security Tightened in Chembur

Special train services have been resumed on Harbour line between CSMT-Kurla and Mankhurd. All other services on Central Railway running normally.

Meanwhile, security has been tightened in Mumbai's Chembur locality.

Bus, Train Services Affected

Pro-Dalit protestors stopped traffic on the Sion-Panvel highway near Chembur on 2 January. Local train services on the Harbour Line between Chembur and Govandi have also been affected following protests. Demonstrations were also held at Amar Mahal Junction in Chembur.

Instances of stone pelting have been reported from all the above-mentioned areas.

According to The Indian Express, protestors damaged the entrance of the Shiv Sena office in Chembur.

Meanwhile, bus services between Ahmadnagar and Aurangabad were suspended after a few buses were vandalised in Hadaspar and Fursungi in protests led by Marathas.

A journalist was attacked as groups of youths from Chembur, Vikhroli, Mankhurd and Govandi joined the protest, NDTV reported.

Prakash Ambedkar Calls for Statewide Bandh on Wednesday

The chairperson of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh — Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar, who is also the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, has called for a bandh across Maharashtra on Wednesday.

Ambedkar alleged that Hindu Ekta Aghadi was responsible for the violence.

He said Maharashtra Democratic Front, Maharashtra Left Front, besides 250 organisations, have supported tomorrow's shutdown.

He alleged the trouble occurred because of Hindu Ekta Aghadi and Shivraj Pratishthan, headed by Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, respectively.

"Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Sabha (ABHS), Peshwa heirs, had opposed the event. We held talks with ABHS after which they decided against opposing," he said.

All Dalit groups have urged its members to maintain peace.

Local Pro-Dalit Groups Call for Protests

Local pro-Dalit groups called for “rasta roko” protests in Bhima Koregaon, Aurangabad, and other parts of Maharashtra on 2 January against the violence. Solapur and parts of Mumbai’s suburbs witnessed violence on 2 January. ANI said that Mumbai’s local train service between Chembur and Govandi was affected because of the protests.

Fadnavis Orders Probe

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday, 2 January, said a judicial inquiry will be sought into the violence which erupted during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Koregaon battle in Pune district.

Two incidents of violence occurred in Bhima Koregaon on 1 January 2018. First, in the afternoon when people were heading towards a war memorial in the village. This is when “individuals carrying saffron flags” reportedly pelted stones at cars headed to the memorial, reported Scroll.

Opposition party NCP’s chief Sharad Pawar condemned the violence, asking why despite it being the 200th anniversary of the event, with a larger number of attendees expected, there wasn’t more police protection at the event.

"Dalit groups visiting Bhima Koregaon village in vehicles were halted at Sanaswadi, a village near Koregaon. Stones were hurled at them. No police force was available for their protection." - Ramdas Athawale, Union Minister

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