Mumbai Brought to a Halt After Protest Against Pune Caste Violence

News18.com
Shops and business establishments were shut and a senior journalist of a national news channel was attacked as groups of youths from Chembur, Vikhroli, Mankhurd and Govandi joined the protest, police said.

Mumbai: Protests and road blockades brought Mumbai to a halt on Tuesday. People took to the streets against the violence during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district on Monday that led to death of one person.

The local train service has also been affected with reports of protesters holding up trains at Govandi and Chembur stations. The harbour line has also been hit.

Shops and business establishments were shut and a senior journalist of a national news channel was attacked as groups of youths from Chembur, Vikhroli, Mankhurd and Govandi joined the protest, police said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said a judicial inquiry has been ordered into the violence.

"A sitting High Court judge will head the inquiry," Fadnavis said, a day after a youth died as a group, opposed to the celebrations due to the "British victory" in the battle, clashed with Dalits rallying their way to the battle memorial.

Fadnavis said that Rs 10 lakh compensation would be given to kin of the youth killed.

He appealed for calm and peace, saying Maharashtra is a progressive state which does not believe in casteist violence.

Strict action would be taken against those who use social media to spread rumours, he said and appealed to political parties to refrain from saying anything that would fuel tensions.

"Around three lakh people had gathered (for the battle anniversary celebrations). Some people tried to create a serious scene. But six companies (of security personnel) were posted. Police promptly controlled the situation and averted a major problem," Fadnavis said.

Tuesday's event was to mark 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district, in which forces of the East India Company had defeated Peshwa's army.

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community -- then considered untouchable -- were part of the East India Company's forces.

However, some right-wing groups in Pune had expressed opposition to the celebrations of the "British victory".

The violence had erupted after a local group and some members of the crowd on its way to the memorial had an argument over some issues.