A day after protests by Dalit groups brought Mumbai to a standstill, the police refused to give Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid permission to speak at a student event in the city on Thursday. The police forcibly removed the students present at the venue of the event, ANI reported.
The two youth leaders were invited to speak at a summit organised by student organisation Chhatra Bharati. The police, however, denied permission after a complaint was filed against Mevani and Khalid on Tuesday for allegedly making provocative speeches on December 31 at the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon near Pune.
The complaint was lodged the day violence broke out in parts of Mumbai and Pune after a man was killed in clashes during the celebrations. On Thursday, an FIR was filed against the two leaders, ANI reported.
“The police has sent a notice denying permission to hold the event,” Datta Dhage, the president of Chhatra Bharati said, according to the Hindustan Times. Dhage said the group plans to go ahead with the summit.
Chhatra Bharati Vice President Sagar Bhalerao told ANI that inviting Mevani and Khalid to the summit was decided before the clashes broke out in the state. “We had booked Bhaidas Hall for All India National Students’ Summit...but now we are being denied entry,” Bhalerao said.
The group began protesting outside the Juhu police station on Thursday afternoon, after the police detained some of its members, ANI reported.
On Thursday, fresh protests were reported from Gujarat’s Junagadh, where demonstrators blocked roads and stopped traffic.
‘Hindutva groups creating chaos’
Dalit leader and BR Ambedkar’s grandson, Prakash Ambedkar, who had first called for the Maharashtra bandh on Wednesday, blamed “some Hindutva groups” for triggering the violence. He said these groups were “bent upon creating chaos in the country and taking control of the government of India”, NDTV reported.
The former Lok Sabha member accused leaders of two right-wing groups – Shivjagar Pratisthan president Sambhaji Bhide and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti president Milind Ekbote – for the January 1 violence that targeted Dalit groups travelling to Bhima Koregaon village.
“People might say this is exaggerated, but this is what they are trying to do,” Ambedkar said. “As Hafiz Saeed has taken control of Pakistan administration, these people want to take control of government of India.”
He said, “If we had not controlled it [the protests] today, I don’t know what would have happened in Maharashtra.”