Updated: January 19, 2021 8:00:31 am
AUTHOR ARUNDHATI Roy and former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who resigned from the services in protest against abrogation of Article 370, are among key speakers at the Elgaar Parishad event being organised in Pune on January 30 by ‘Bhima Koregaon Shourya Din Prerna Abhiyan’.
While the Pune Police had denied permission to organise the event on December 31, 2020, citing Covid-19 and law and order reasons, activists are set to hold the conference on January 30, which is the birth anniversary of Rohith Vemula, a research scholar of University of Hyderabad whose suicide raised an uproar among Dalits in 2016.
‘Bhima Koregaon Shourya Din Prerna Abhiyan’ has released a pamphlet for the coming Elgaar Parishad, which mentions its “main speakers” as Arundhati Roy, Kannan Gopinathan along with Rohith’s brother Raja Vemula.
Also among the main speakers are Shweta Bhatt, wife of jailed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt; Ladeeda Sakhaloon and Aysha Renna N, face of the protests by Jamia Millia Islamia students against the Citizenship Amendment Act; journalist Prashant Kanojia, who faced arrest by Uttar Pradesh police; Sharjeel Usmani, a former student leader from Aligarh Muslim University arrested in connection with violence during the anti-CAA protests; Abeda Tadvi, mother of Dr Payal Tadvi whose suicide sparked protests in Mumbai; retired High Court judge BG Kolse Patil; activists SQR Illiyas, Randeep Madhuke and Satyabhama Suryawanshi.
“All speakers have confirmed their participation. We have booked Ganesh Kala Krida Manch for holding the day-long Elgaar Parishad starting at 10 am on January 30. Process of seeking permission for the police is on,” said Akash Sabale of Republican Bharat and member of ‘Bhima Koregaon Shourya Din Prerna Abhiyan’.
‘Bhima Koregaon Shourya Din Prerna Abhiyan’ had organised the controversial ‘Elgaar Parishad’ at the Shaniwaar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, ahead of the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Koregaon Bhima. Next day, on January 1, 2018, violence was reported from Koregaon Bhima, in which one person was killed and several others injured.
Pune Police has claimed that Elgaar Parishad was organised as per the strategy of the banned CPI-Maoist. Police also claimed that “provocative” speeches at the conference and during its campaign were among factors that aggravated the violence at Koregaon Bhima and arrested Elgaar Parishad organiser Sudhir Dawale, artists of Kabir Kala Manch along with several other activists, including Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy for their alleged link with the CPI-Maoist in this case.
Several individuals and groups part of the ‘Bhima Koregaon Shourya Din Prerna Abhiyan’ called the investigation “false” and demanded immediate release of the activists arrested in the case, which is now being investigated by National Investigation Agency.
Extending support to these activists, the pamphlet now released for the January 30 conference also makes mention of the ongoing farmers’ agitation and the arrest of student leader Umar Khalid and others in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots.
The pamphlet states, “…revolt cannot take place in established mainstream power structures. For that we need to shake pre-existing Brahminical-Capitalist-Patriarchal system from its very roots like our idols did. We have to resurrect and revive equality-based symbol, pride and art in a space at cultural, social, political, economic levels.”
It further states that Elgaar Parishad is an attempt which “hopes to contribute towards caste-class-patriarchy ending people’s struggle”.
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