Pune: Tension prevailed at Koregaon Bhima, a village 30 kilometres north east of Pune in Maharashtra after two groups entered into stone pelting following an altercation on Monday. At least one person died and four were injured.
The violence erupted in afternoon when some members of the crowd on its way to visit the memorial had an argument over some issue.
A police officer deployed for bandobast at Koregaon Bhima said, “Stone pelting started after the argument. During the violence, vehicles and a house in the vicinity was damaged,” reported The New Indian Express.
Individuals with saffron flags reportedly pelted stones at cars going towards the village reported Scroll.in. Pictures and videos on social media show that many cars and buses were battered, and some vehicles were set on fire.
INDIA: Section 144 imposed around Koregaon Bhima park in Pune, Maharashtra ahead of an event on '200 years of Bhima Koregaon battle' pic.twitter.com/OhN6UHRc83
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The situation in the village is under control now. Police personnel including companies of the SRPF, have been deployed to avoid any untoward incident. Police blocked traffic on the Pune-Ahmednagar road and imposed section 144.
Every New Year’s Day lakhs of people gather to commemorate the victory of the English, in which the British Army comprising Dalit Mahars had defeated Brahmin Peshwa-led Maratha Empire in 1818. This event was the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon.
But the celebrations this year have been fraught with controversy. Several groups such as the Pune-based Akhil Bharatiya Brahmin Mahasangh, has called the event anti-national.
Some Dalit leaders and thinkers view it as a victory of oppressed classes over the upper-caste establishment of those times.
Earlier in the day, Dalit leader and Independent MLA from Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani visited the memorial in Koregaon Bhima.
On Sunday, Dalit and leftist groups commemorated the ‘victory battle’ with a programme “Elgaar parishad” outside Shanivar Wada in Pune.