Other States

After Mumbai’s no-show, Bhim Army moves HC for Pune rally

Determined: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on his way to Pune to address a rally ahead of the Bhima-Koregaon war anniversary, on Sunday.

Determined: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on his way to Pune to address a rally ahead of the Bhima-Koregaon war anniversary, on Sunday.  


SSPMS ground authorities cancel event, SPPU denies permission for student interaction

In the face of rigid police opposition to their Pune rally, the Bhim Army on Sunday moved the Bombay High Court (HC), seeking permission to hold its planned events in the city, which is to be addressed by the their leader Chief Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’.

On Sunday, advocate Nitin Satpute filed a writ petition in the HC on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh-based Ambedkarite outfit before Justice C.V. Bhadang seeking “urgent relief” for the Bhim Army to hold their public meeting in Pune. It also demanded action against the State government for allegedly violating Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution.

The outfit’s planned events in Mumbai on December 28 and in Pune on Sunday came a cropper after Mr. Azad, along with hundreds of Bhim Army activists, were detained by the Mumbai police. In the event that the HC denied permission and the Bhim Army decided to go ahead with their plans, sources said that the Pune police would also detain Mr. Azad inside his hotel.

“This is dictatorship on part of the Modi and Fadnavis governments. They are scared of the public, hence I have been detained and prevented from holding rallies. How is it that the real perpetrators of the Bhima-Koregaon violence are free and I, a son of Ambedkar, am detained?” Mr. Azad said from his hotel in Malad in Mumbai, before starting for Pune.

He said he was committed to holding his events in Pune. “If the police detain me in Pune, I will walk to the village of Bhima-Koregaon for the 201st anniversary of the battle on January 1,” he said.

Mr. Azad was to address the ‘Bhima-Koregaon Sangharsh Mahasabha’ at the city’s SSPMS grounds on Sunday evening. He was also scheduled to interact with Ambedkarite students at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).

However, the SSPMS ground authorities allegedly denied permission and the stage built for the occasion was dismantled. On Saturday, the SPPU authorities had likewise denied Mr. Azad permission to interact with students as his presence “would create tension”.

“We are eagerly awaiting the HC’s order… once we get the green signal, then events in Pune which had to be cancelled today will proceed apace tomorrow,” said Datta Pol, the Bhim Army’s Pune district president.

Despite the outfit submitting requisite documents to hold the rally in Pune, the city police, without officially denying permission, have delayed the sanctioning process since a month.

Given the atmosphere in the lead-up to the anniversary, the Pune police are bent upon preventing any law and order situation that might arise owing to Mr. Azad’s ‘provocative’ speeches.

Pune Police Commissioner K. Venkatesham said that the city police had no role in denying permission to the event at the SSPMS grounds and that the decision was taken by the ground authorities.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:31:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-mumbais-no-show-bhim-army-moves-hc-for-pune-rally/article25867499.ece

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