THE Maharashtra government will organise centenary celebrations of the historic Mangaon conference, in which Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj had announced Dr B R Ambedkar as the leader of oppressed classes. State Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde said the celebrations will be held on March 21 as part of the government’s Dalit outreach programme.
According to officials, the Mangaon conference in Kolhapur district was held on March 21-22 in 1920, and was organised by local residents in their fight against discrimination and untouchability. Ambedkar presided over the conference while Shahu Maharaj was the chief guest, an official said.
The official further said the decision was made at a meeting on Tuesday. The celebration assumes significance as the conference is seen as Maratha-Dalit unity, the official added.
“The centenary celebrations of the conference will be held on March 21. Considering its historic importance, the celebrations will be organised by the government and several programmes are being planned,” Munde said.
An official from the social justice department said a committee chaired by Satej Patil, Minister of State for Home and Guardian Minister of Kolhapur, will be set up that will hold discussions with the local authorities in the district and the government.
Sources in the government said some of the plans included recreating Shahu Maharaj and Ambedkar’s visit to the Mangoan conference through audio-visual medium. Also, the government might also invite the descendants of Ambedkar and Shahu Maharaj, the official said.
The celebrations are being planned in the backdrop of NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s demand of an SIT probe into the alleged misuse of power by police in the Bhima Koregaon and Elgaar Parishad cases.
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