Right-wing extreme Hindutva leaders Sambhaji Bhide, better known as Bhide Guruji, and Milind Ekbote deliberately planned attack on Dalits who had gathered on January 1st at a nearby village called Bhima-Koregaon to celebrate the anniversary of a battle fought 200 years ago in which the Peshva army was defeated at the hands of British forces comprising mainly Dalit soldiers.
BJP-led government of Devendra Fadnavis was aware of the preparations made by both Bhide and Ekbote to disrupt the event as right-wing people were making inciting speeches and they attacked Dalits with sticks and stones but branded the attack as riots between Maratha and Dalits.
It is not the first time that Dalits have been attacked under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime as there have been several incidents of Dalits being flogged, killed on the pretext of cow slaughtering.
Bhide’s political clout is well known as even Narendra Modi had launched his 2014 campaign of becoming prime minister,after visiting his house in Sangli and toucing his feet. Both men has deep links with RSS and they have a history of spreading riots,enmity between the communities etc.
An FIR has been lodged at Pimpri police station against both the Hindutva leaders under charges of orchestrating violence during celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The protesters demanded the arrest their involvement they have not been arrested so far.
BJP government of the Maharashtra State and the Centre is now stirring the inter communities hatred by digging out history versions to get mileage in the run-up to 2019 Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections. Bhide has a huge fan following in Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara, especially among the youth and top leaders of the ruling partysuch as Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray have been taking the blessings of Bhide at the time of elections.
It seams that Prime Minister Modi is finished with his reforms and Vikas agenda including the attack on the Congress over corruption after the 2G verdict, BJP is deparately seeking to infuse tensions in the country by creating divisions in the society in the name of religion, community caste and creed.
But the Fadnavis government should be held reponsible for the violence that broke out at Bhima Koregaon, in which one Dalit died and dozens of others from the community were injured, and several vehicles torched.
Prime Minister Modi was seen using the name of Dr B R Ambedkar for wining the Gujarat elections but he did not care to attend the event. Although every time Modi mentions Ambedkar during elections to woo Dalits but will never utter a word for the atrocities being unleashed on the minorities.Moreover, PM never issues any whip for his cabinet ministers or the BJP chief ministers for not working for the Dalits/OBCs, the poor and the downtrodden.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar slammed the state government for the lack of security in Pune. “Why did the administration not take adequate precautions for this event, which has been celebrated peacefully since 1927? Due to the (government’) lapses, there was confusion and rumour-mongering, which resulted in the violence,” he said.
Moreover the event was also attended by Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s mother, Radhika Vemulabut BJP come to playing petty politics by accusing Congress of inciting the violence but the saffron Brigade should use its sense that being a Dalit leader Jignesh was duty bound to attend the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ in Pune to commemorate the ‘victory battle’.
BJP should focus on creating social harmony rather than looking for an opportunity to ignite riots and thereafter blame the Congress for criticising BJP.
By: Arti Bali