Sanghi goons roaming in motorcycles instigate community residing at Koregaon to throw stones on groups gathered near Bhima river commemorating 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon.
People assembled to pay their respects to the martyrs of Bhima Koregaon in Koregaon, 30 kms away from Pune, were taken aback as they found themselves confronting a sudden stream of stones raining down on them from the nearby houses.
Thousands of Dalits Bahujan women and children gather every year at Bhima koregaon to commemorate the valiant battle that a regiment of 500 Mahars fought against a strength of approximately 28,000 soldiers of the Peshwa Kingdom. This was the first time in centuries of oppression and exploitation of the Peshwai and other castes that Mahars, a community among Dalits had waged an immaculate battle of emancipation against the Brahmanical seats of power.
This year is special as it is the 200th anniversary of this battle.
Today at around 12 pm as people were relaxing near the Bhima river after travel and walk till the Koregaon park, panic engripped them as the localities residing in the area suddenly started pelting big stones on them.
The youth were not the ones to take it lying low and retorted back by pelting stones and waving blue flags in a symbolic gesture of resistance. The police were clearly outnumbered and ill prepared to deal with this situation which could’ve easily turned into a blood fest had the visitors, mostly Dalits been lesser in number. Because of the massive strength of the crowd, the community which is suspected to comprise of upper caste people couldn’t carry on for a long time. Eye witnesses present at the spot said that as people were walking towards the Bhima river a couple of motorcycle waving saffron flags passed through the crowd and went towards the residents trying to instigate them against the Dalit community members. The local community residing in the area was said to comprise mostly of upper caste members. Infact a man driving a White Maruti Omni having press written on the back glass shouted out at the crowd, “All of you are Hijras”trying to imply that Dalits were cowards. And trying to use the term as an insult to the people present.
Some others present at the spot said this was bound to happen as a few days back a person belonging to “Neechi jaati” was threatened in this area. This couldn’t be confirmed. Another woman who had come to pay her respects at Bhima Koregaon said that the glasses of her car were broken by the stone pelting.
The people at the spot were angry and upset and kept throwing stones on a saffron flag that was raised on one of the houses.
The police tried to dissipate the crowd but people stayed and kept chanting Jai Bhim as a symbol of protest.