ABHIJIT INAMDAR, believed to be a descendant of Veer Sidnak (Mahar) Inamdar, who had fought for the British troops against Peshwas in the 1818 Battle of Bhima Koregaon, accused Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar on Monday of indulging in “caste politics” over the legend of Bhima Koregaon.
Inamdar, along with representatives of more than 20 other communities, held a press conference in Sangli on Sunday evening. The meet was organised to denounce the “vote-bank politics” in the name of Bhima Koregaon battle, and the violent clashes witnessed in some of the villages around Pune on January 1 during celebration of the the 200th anniversary of the battle.
Inamdar, referring to Prakash Ambedkar, said, “People who have never been able to do any development work are now playing caste politics over the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. This is unfortunate.” “However, Amedkarites (followers of B R Ambedkar) are well informed. I appeal to them to maintain peace in this situation,” he added.
Veer Sidnak (Mahar) Inamdar is considered one of the Dalit heroes of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, and has a samadhi, or tomb, in Kalambi village in Miraj taluka of Sangli district. Abhijit Inamdar said Ambedkar was “playing vote-bank politics” by blaming Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide for the violent clashes on January 1. Bhide, along with another Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, has been named in two FIRs related to that violence.
“Prakash Ambedkar, or others making false allegations against Bhide guruji, did not come to Kalambi to visit the samadhi of Veer Sidnak (Mahar) Inamdar, who was the hero of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Bhide guruji, meanwhile, had visited the samadhi, along with 5,000 members of Shiv Pratishthan (his organisation), in 2010,” he added.
Inamdar said he, too, was present at Jaystambh, or war memorial, in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, where lakhs had turned up to commemorate the anniversary of the battle. “I am a Hindu Mahar by caste and proud of my ancestor Veer Sidnak (Mahar) Inamdar. I respect Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Dr B R Ambedkar equally. Like every year, from midnight of December 31 till late on January 1, I was present at the ‘Jaystambh’. There was no violence near the ‘Jaystambh’,” he said.
About the Elgaar Parishad in Pune on December 31, one of the main events organised on the anniversary, he said, “I was not invited. However, I was happy to see that the songs sung at Elgaar Parishad had prominent references to Sidnak Mahar.”