Aziza Patel was out on streets of Bandra from 10 am with a group of housewives. Tailing the men, she shouted slogans: “Modi murdabad” and “band karo atyachaar”. Taking a break later in the afternoon heat, she said, “A lot of us have come on roads because we are followers of Ambedkar. We can join any protest in his name. I don’t know what exactly happened in Pune… I came because everybody was joining.”
Others were better informed, having read through dozens of WhatsApp messages before Prakash Ambedkar called for a statewide bandh. On Wednesday, the outpouring of anger on the streets was not only a reaction to the Bhima Koregaon incident — it was also anger over prolonged discrimination.
“If we sit quietly, the oppression will continue,” said RPI member Vaibhav More, a man in his twenties. Wearing sunglasses and blue flags, several posed for selfies, others looked for autorickshaws to stop. “We do not want to create trouble, we want to draw the government’s attention towards communalism. If the government still does not react, then we will,” said a RPI activist.