Union minister Ramdas Athawale heckled during speech by protesters

By: | Published: January 15, 2018 3:29 PM

A group of Dalit activists tried to disrupt a speech by Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale here last evening, protesting erection of a separate stage by his party workers.

ramdas athawale, social justice ramdas athawale, koregaon bhima, dalit, dalit activists, speech by protesters, dalits visiting war memorialA group of Dalit activists tried to disrupt a speech by Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale here last evening, protesting erection of a separate stage by his party workers. (Image: PTI)

A group of Dalit activists tried to disrupt a speech by Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale here last evening, protesting erection of a separate stage by his party workers. Police detained around 130 protesters. Athawale was speaking at the varsity campus to mark anniversary of the ‘name-expansion’ of Marathwada University. In the 1990s, following an intense agitation by Dalits, the state government expanded the varsity’s name as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University.

Following the violence at Koregaon Bhima this month where Dalits visiting a war memorial — marking the victory of the East India Company army consisting of Dalit Mahar soldiers over the Peshwas — came under attack, Dalit organisations had resolved to celebrate the name-expansion day on one platform. However, as workers of the Athawale-led faction of the Republican Party of India erected a separate stage for his rally, some activists protested vociferously.

As the Union minister, who is a prominent Dalit leader from the state, spoke last night, protesters tossed chairs in air and shouted slogans against him. While Athawale continued his speech, his supporters formed a cordon around him. Assistant Commissioner of Police Nagnath Kode said police detained some 130 protesters who were later released.

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