Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar were among hundreds of people who paid their respects at a memorial pillar at Bhima Koregaon near Pune.

Wednesday marked the 202nd anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, fought in 1818 between the forces of the British Army, many of whose soldiers were members of the Dalit Mahar community, and that of the Brahmin Peshwa-ruled Maratha Empire. The Battle of Koregaon was a decisive part of the Third Anglo-Maratha War that consolidated British rule in western India. Those who visit the Jaystambh, or the victory pillar, view it as a memorial to a vital victory in the fight against the practices of untouchability imposed on them by the Peshwas.

“This pillar has history and every year lakhs of people come here,’ Pawar told reporters, according to PTI. “Some untoward incidents took place two years ago, but the government is taking utmost care and elaborate police arrangement has been made here to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.”

Pawar urged people to visit the war memorial in a peaceful manner.

The January 1, 2018, clashes cast a shadow over the festivities. There were unprecedented attacks on the lakhs of visitors who had converged in Bhima Koregaon, which left one person dead and several injured. Multiple cases have been filed over the violence and the then state government led by Devendra Fadnavis set up a probe committee to investigate the matter.

The police this time have made elaborate security arrangements as lakhs of people are expected to gather at the memorial pillar. More than 5,000 policemen, besides contingents of State Reserve Police Force and Home Guards, will regulate the crowds.

The Pune Police had last week issued notices to several people, including right-wing leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, and members of Kabir Kala Manch, barring them from entering Perne village in Pune district for four days from December 29. The notices, as part of preventive action, were issued to all those against whom cases were registered in connection with the violence two years ago.