Maharashtra witnesses the highest number of communal riots every year.
Maharashtra: A state that has been at the forefront of social reforms, is yet again covered with a blanket of communal violence. Sporadic incidents of violence, road and rail blockades, stone-pelting and rallies took place during a bandh called by Dalit groups on Wednesday, as a protest against the attacks on the Dalit community.
Most of the Educational institutions were open in Mumbai but school buses were off roads on the day security measures were stepped up. Many activists from the Dalit group jumped on railway tracks, shouted slogans and waved flags to attempt rail blockades in Thane and Palghar districts. This protest also led to a death of a 16-year old student, who was killed in violence during a roadblock agitation in Nanded.
The Aurangabad University examination was been rescheduled and the internet services were suspended due to the protest. The shutdown had a greater impact on the sub-urban area as compared to the Urban areas of Thane, Nagpur, Pune and other cities. The coastal Konkan region witnessed total shutdown, as it’s Dalit dominated region.
Arise of the Protest:
It all started on Monday, when a group of Dalit, who were on way to an event near Pune city, to mark 200 years of the Bhima Koregaon battle, were been attacked by some men of Maratha community. A 28 year old man was killed during the attack as well.
On Tuesday morning, hundreds of Dalit took the streets of Mumbai in protest. It was their way of telling the world: We won’t silently suffer through the existing caste hierarchies.
Many schools and colleges were been shut down in the financial capital of India. Prohibitory orders to stop the gathering of more than four people were also imposed in the state. Later Dalit leader, Prakash Ambedkar called for a bandh on Wednesday.
Government Response to the Protest:
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis blamed some disruptive and anti elements forces who led down this violence. He asked the people of Maharashtra to keep calm and not panic in this situation.
“We are walking on the path of development. We are trying to keep the state away from the communal tensions. However, some elements who don’t have any other worthwhile issues are trying to disrupt the communal harmony and vitiate the atmosphere in the state,” Fadnavis said to the media.
He also assured that the government will conduct inquiry into all incidents of violence across the state.
“We are monitoring the CCTV footage of violence. The sequence of events too are being closely monitored. We shall screen all the evidence and conduct an inquiry. Cases would be lodged against people involved in such acts,” he added.
The minister of state for Home, Deepak Kesarkar blamed the social media for the tension across the state.
“There have been several rumors spread across the social media over past couple of days. We are keeping a tab on all such cases and trying to defuse the tension. The place where tension erupted on Monday is calm now, but there have been rumors that people have been arrested under atrocities act, igniting the tension,” said Kesarkar.
Meanwhile, The Mumbai Police registered 16 FIRs and detained over 300 people in connection with protests.