Several factions of the Republican Party of India will come together to organise a Dalit community morcha at Chaityabhoomi in Mumbai’s Dadar area on February 28, The Times of India reported on Monday.
The protestors will demand the arrest of Hindutva activists Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote and Shiv Sena MLA Rajesh Kshirsagar, and withdrawal of cases against 54,000 Dalit youth who demonstrated against the violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1, the daily said.
“All Republican organisations and like-minded groups are coming together to save our Constitution and organise a rally for our demands,” Jogendra Kawade, founder president of the Peoples’ Republican Party, told The Times of India. “The rally intends to unite all Dalits under one banner.”
Kawade claimed that the violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1 was “state-sponsored terrorism” and was planned by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. “Bhide and Ekbote are RSS activists and the government should take action against them for inciting violence against Dalits,” he said.
The Supreme Court had on February 7 granted Samasta Hindu Aghadi chief Ekbote anticipatory bail, after it was turned down by two lower courts.
On January 1, clashes broke out in Bhima Koregaon near Pune and its surrounding areas during celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Violence erupted after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars heading towards Bhima Koregaon for the commemoration on New Year’s Day. Dalit leaders and workers at the village alleged that they had seen Ekbote as well as Shiv Pratishthan chief Bhide in the area.
On January 2, Dalit groups protested in Mumbai bringing the city to a halt. The unrest led to the death of a youth.