Maharashtra bandh called off after a day of massive protests

Nagpur/Mumbai: After a day of protests, road and rail traffic disruption, and sporadic violence, the massive bandh across Maharashtra called by Dalit groups and parties, was called off on late Wednesday evening.

The bandh was called off around 4.30 pm by Prakash Ambedkar — the grandson of Dalit icon Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar — who had given the strike call yesterday after massive protests in Mumbai. The state government had taken immediate measures, deploying nearly thousands of security personnel to keep the peace in Nagpur, Mumbai and other parts of the state.

Daily life was thrown out of gear in city and other parts of Maharashtra as a result of a state-wide bandh called by Dalit groups in protest against the violent clashes that broke out during the Bhima Koregaon battle anniversary on January 1. On Monday, at least three lakh members of the community had gathered in villages around Bhima Koregaon near Pune to attend an event commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon. There, Dalits clashed with members of the Maratha group, resulting in the death of a 28-year-old Maratha. Several others were injured. On Tuesday, members of the Dalit community staged protests in Mumbai, Pune and at least nine other districts in the state, calling for action against the Marathas, and alleging they were targeted on Monday.

Protests were held in Nagpur, Pune and Baramati and stray violence was reported from several areas. In Nagpur, most schools and markets remained shut and bus services were disrupted as protests were held in sensitive parts of the town.