Violence mars 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon battle

Vastavam web: The event to mark 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district, in which forces of the East India Company defeated Peshwa’s army, was marred by incidents of violence today, with at least one person getting killed.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.Incidents of stone-pelting and vandalism occurred at Bhima Koregaon in Shiroor tehsil today afternoon when people were heading for the war memorial in the village, police said.

“Stone-pelting started after the argument. During the violence, some vehicles and a house in the vicinity were damaged,” a police officer deployed for security at Bhima Koregaon said without elaborating.He said the police stopped traffic on the Pune-Ahmednagar highway for sometime following the incident.The battle of Bhima Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818. Some Dalit leaders and thinkers view its outcome as a victory of oppressed classes over the upper-caste establishment of those times.

Earlier in the day, dalit leader and independent MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani visited the war memorial in the village. Mevani had also attended `Elgaar Parishad’ held in Pune to commemorate the battle yesterday.”Dalit groups visiting Bhima Koregaon were stopped at Sanaswadi near Koregaon. Stones were hurled at them. No police force was available for their protection,” Athawale said in a statement.