Lakhs of people pay tribute at the Koregaon Bhima war memorial

PUNE: Thousands of people paid tributes on Wednesday at the Jaystambh (victory pillar) in the village of Perne in Maharashtra on the occasion of the 202 anniversary of the battle amid strict security measures.

The area had witnessed violent protests two years ago.

At least four Lakh people have paid their respects until 3 pm at the monument, which Dalits sees as a symbol of his pride, with no reports of any unpleasant incident so far.

Early in the morning, the deputy prime minister of Maharashtra, Ajit Pawar, the president of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), Prakash Ambedkar, the minister of the Union, Ramdas Athawale, and several other leaders visited the 'Jay Stambh'.

As a precaution, Internet services in Koregaon Bhima and its surroundings have been suspended.

Violent clashes occurred in the area around Koregaon Bhima on the 200th anniversary of the battle of 1818 on January 1, 2018, in which one person died and several others were injured.

The commemoration is peaceful so far, and until 3 in the afternoon, approximately 4 to 5 lakh people have paid their tributes in the 'Jaystambh,' said Pune police superintendent Sandip Patil.

The police officer said local residents are expanding their cooperation and help to ensure the event passes peacefully, unlike the incident on January 1, 2018.

Smarter from previous experience, the police have made elaborate security arrangements in the area.

In addition to a large number of police personnel, state reserve police force (SRPF) companies, bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) teams are also deployed in the area, a police officer said, adding that the Drone cameras are also being used to monitor the crowd.

As part of the preparations, ample space has been provided to install stalls to sell various souvenirs and other items, he said.

Speaking to journalists after visiting the pillar of victory, Ajit Pawar said he offered tributes on behalf of the people of Maharashtra.

This pillar has history and thousands of people come here every year. Some adverse incidents took place two years ago, but the government is taking the utmost care and a police bandobast has been prepared here to ensure that no unpleasant incidents occur, he said. .

Pawar urged people who visit the site to keep the peace.

I call on people to come and offer their taxes, but also keep the peace and don't believe in the rumors, said the NCP leader.

According to Dalit's account, about 500 soldiers of the Dalit Mahar caste, who were part of the British army, defeated the forces of Peshwas (who were Brahmins), in the battle of 1818.

Every year, thousands of people, especially the Dalits and those of the Ambedkarite movement, visit Jaystambh on January 1 to pay their respects.

Pawar said Maharashtra has a tradition of maintaining peace and harmony.

This particular area has a history of courage and courage. Similarly, Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj also had a connection to this land and young people should be inspired by the courage shown by those who sacrificed their lives in battle and move on in their lives. he said

Meanwhile, Prakash Ambedkar said some people had tried to cause problems during the current congregation, but the new government has thwarted its intentions.

As the new government is in place, some people who tried to politicize the issue intended to create disturbances (in the congregation), but we, along with the government, frustrated that motive, he said without giving further details.

Ambedkar expressed satisfaction with the security arrangements around Koregaon Bhima.

When asked about the Elgaar Parishad 2017 case and the recent demand by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to withdraw cases against activists in connection with the Koregaon Bhima incident in 2018, Ambedkar said the position of the three ruling constituents: Shiv Sena , NCP and Congress, in the state The government is cooperative, which is cozy.

Union minister and RPI (A) chief Athawale also praised the district administration for making good arrangements.

An elaborate security is also maintained in the historic village of Vadhu Budruk, located near Perne.

Last week, Pune police had issued notices to several people, including right-wing leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, and members of Kabir Kala Manch, prohibiting them from entering the district for four days from December 29.

The notices, as part of a preventive action, were issued to all those against whom cases related to violence were recorded two years ago.

Ekbote was arrested in March 2018 for allegedly instigating and orchestrating the violence around Koregaon Bhima.

Bhide was also booked and appointed in the FIR, but was never arrested.

Police attributed the violence of 2018 to the Elgaar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, where provocative speeches were allegedly made.

Police are also investigating the alleged Maoist link of some activists with the conclave of Elgaar Parishad.