A day after the state-wide bandh call by Dalit outfits brought parts of Maharashtra to a grinding halt, the Mumbai Police on Thursday denied permission for the All India National Students’ Summit where newly elected Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid were invited as guests. “Had booked Bhaidas Hall for All India National Students’ Summit here today, but now we are being denied entry. Reason police is citing is the news doing the rounds about Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani for the past few days,” the organiser of the event said, as reported by news agency ANI.
Both the leaders have also been booked under charges of ‘creating communal disharmony’ through the ‘provocative speeches’ they delivered at Elgaar Parishad by the Pune Police. The Elgaar Parishad was held in Pune to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon. The complainant demanded registration of criminal offence against Mevani and Khalid for promoting enmity between different groups through their speeches.
Violence erupted in Maharashtra on January 1 when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa’s army. Vehicles were torched, traffic was disrupted and train services were halted in parts across the state due to the bandh called by the Dalits on Wednesday.
Bhima Koregaon protests highlights:
7:40 pm: State Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant said, “The government has suddenly cancelled a scheduled conference of students and has arrested students.”
He also said, “While Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote who were responsible for the Bhima Koregaon violence are roaming free, the police arrested students after cancelling the permission to the conference at the last moment. We condemn this action.”
7:39 pm: The Congress has condemned the Maharashtra government’s decision to deny permission to an event supposed to be addressed by Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid on Thursday. saying the “weak” government got “scared” of students.
6:47 pm: Kapil Patil claims that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been lying.
6:45 pm: Student leaders addressing press conference in Mumbai.
6:15 pm: Owing to the Bhima Koregaon protests in Mumbai, Mumbai metro had to cancel 35 trips between 11.30 am to 4.55 pm. During this period, the metro was operating only between airport road to Versova stations with 25 per cent lower ridership.
4:30 pm: Mumbai police PRO said, “A total of 37 arrests were made by the Mumbai police till last night. 16 juveniles have also been charged. Figures of arrests will go up. So far 25 FIRs registered.”
3.00 pm: Police have barricaded the Bhaidas auditorium and heavy security has been deployed around the premises.
2.30 pm: Those detained by Mumbai Police included Datta Daghe, the president of Chhatra Bharati, the organiser of the event, other organisers, MLC Kapil Patil, Allahabad University student leader Richa Singh and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Pradip Narwal. Before being detained, Richa Singh told reporters outside the Bhaidas Hall that the police action against the event was “dictatorship” and that it was “an Emergency-like situation”.
2.26 pm: Sixteen-year-old Pralhad Jadhav was crushed by a mob near Tamsa police station in Nanded during the protests yesterday, the police said. “About 20-25 protesters had gathered near the police station, but they started to flee after spotting a police van. The boy fell and was crushed by the mob. He was rushed to a local hospital but was declared dead,” said a senior police officer.
2.19 pm: The venue for Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid’s event was Bhaidas Hall, Vile Parle in western suburbs of Mumbai.
1.55 pm: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had asked the members to help bring the situation under control and not say anything which may escalate tension. “Our approach should be to see that tempers come down and the situation is brought back to normalcy. We should not accelerate the tension. After all, it is a social conflict.”
1.51 pm: Over 30 policemen were injured during the protests in Mumbai on Wednesday. Most of the injuries were a result of stones pelted on police personnel, said an official, as reported by PTI. An official also said that more than 300 people had been detained as part of the investigations into the incidents that occurred during the protests.
1.22 pm: 12 buses vandalised at Pushpak Bus Stand in wake of Bhima Koregaon violence. The driver was injured and was admitted to the district hospital.
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) January 4, 2018
12.36 pm: In an opinion piece in today’s Indian express, Suhas Palshikar reflects on how the Bhima Koregaon violence speaks of the distorted political economy, communities failed by political leaderships. Read the column here
— ANI (@ANI) January 4, 2018
12.25 pm: Members of Chhatra Bharti are staging a protest outside Juhu Police Station after few of their members were detained by the police in connection with Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid’s event in Mumbai.
12.22 pm: CPI MP D Raja has given a notice on the increasing atrocities against Dalits. While speaking on Maharashtra violence, he said he strongly condemns the attack against Dalits. “Dalit assertion must be understood in correct historical perspective. In Maharashtra, Dalit assertion is being undermined as something triggered by Left-Wing Extremism and Breaking India Brigade.”
12.18 pm: Reacting to the police’s action against the students in Mumbai, Richa Singh, president of Allahabad University students union said, “Government is targeting students because they are posing the greatest threat. Freethought is being arrested everywhere. We will fight it from the streets to the Parliament.” She was also one of the speakers at the event and was detained soon after.
12.17 pm: Rajya Sabha MP and veteran politician Sharad Pawar also spoke on the Bhima Koregaon violence issue. Stresses on the need to resolve the Dalit-Maratha conflict in the state. He also elaborates on the Bhima Koregaon history and says that though Dalits have been paying tributes for 50 years, there was never a conflict. This time, however, two groups tried to ruin the memorial last year which led to conflict.
12.15 pm: The Mumbai police registered a total of 16 FIRs in connection with the protests. The cases have been registered under various sections of the Maharashtra Police Act, Defacement of Public Property, Criminal Amendment Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The number of FIRs are likely to rise as they are just interim ones.
12.10 pm: The Union Home Ministry has received a factual report from the Maharashtra government on the prevailing situation in the state in the wake of Bhima Koregaon protests in the state. An official said the Centre had assured the state government all necessary assistance to deal with the violence and protests and bring back normalcy to the state.
12.05 pm: Meanwhile, a second complaint was filed against pro-Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, who have been accused of inciting violence. The complaint, police said, would be attached to the first FIR that was filed against them on Tuesday.
— ANI (@ANI) January 4, 2018
11.59 am: The FIR lodged against Mevani and Khalid says that two “provocative” speeches by them had led to incidents of “arson and stone pelting” on January 1.
11.50 am: Bhima Koregaon protests are unfortunate. The situation could have worsened, but the state government handled it decently: Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP in Rajya Sabha. He also said all such incidents should be not linked with Hindu organisations and alleged that an “invisible hand” is working to divide and rule the society.
11.45 am: BJP MP from Maharashtra Amar Shankar Sable said Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid made incendiary statements. “The Congress tries to connect every Dalit atrocity with Sangh. This too should be condemned like attacks against Dalits,” he said amid protests in the House.
11.43 am: The issue of Bhima Koregaon violence is also raised in Rajya Sabha by Congress MP Rajni Patil. Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agarwal also demands action and constitution of a Commission for a report on the matter
11.41 am: The protest that initially started in Maharashtra, is now spreading to different parts across the country.
— ANI (@ANI) January 4, 2018
11.39 am: Congress MP Rajni Patil gives notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 over the Bhima Koregaon violence
— ANI (@ANI) January 4, 2018
11.30 am: At least 7 members of Chhatra Bharti, the organising team of the event in Mumbai have been detained. “We will hold the seminar on the road if we have to,” said one of the organiser. Section 149 has been invoked in the area