The Shiv Sena on Thursday tore into the state and the central government for the ongoing protests in Maharashtra by the Dalit outfits against the Bhima-Koregaon violence. The Shiv Sena, in its editorial mouthpiece Saamana, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government of the unfortunate condition of the state and loss property. “The state is suffering because of the politics of the state police department and the BJP-led central government, which controls the Ministry of Home Affairs”, Shiv Sena said in its editorial. The editorial questioned the capability of the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis government, which is “not able to control the ongoing chaos in the state”. “There is nothing new in ordering inquiry in such matter, everyone does that. What new the Maharashtra government has done to tackle the issue. People from other states are coming in Maharashtra and carrying out such activities”, the editorial stated.
It further accused the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh president and the grandson of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar, of inciting the violence and averred that the latter should make an effort to bring back peace and normalcy in the state, rather than fanning the flames. Saamana advised Ambedkar to not use the violence to fulfill his political agenda and said that a true leader is the one “who gives direction to the crowd and not the one who instigates the violence.” It even urged the Dalit outfits to call off the protest for betterment.
Tension gripped many parts of Maharashtra after the death of a youth in clashes on January 1, during an event to mark 200 years of Bhima Koregaon battle near Pune. Fadnavis ordered a Crime Investigation Department (CID) probe into his death and also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the victim’s kin. In the aftermath, a day-long ‘Maharashtra bandh’ was called by various Dalit and other organisations. The bandh was, however, called off later in the day, Prakash Ambedkar announced.
The Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima. The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force. The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry. The Dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in their history.