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Hold rallies after Jan. 2, Maharashtra minister tells Bhim Army chief

Deepak Kesarkar, on the defensive.

Deepak Kesarkar, on the defensive.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

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Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar on Monday defended the detaining of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad by the police in Mumbai and denial of permission for a rally in Pune.

“He (Azad) can come to Maharashtra anytime after January 2 and hold as many rallies as he wants. We will not stop him. But one must understand that considering last year’se incident, the top priority of the police authorities is to maintain law and order. They have acted accordingly,” said Mr. Kesarkar. On January 1 last year, riots broke out in Bhima Koregaon after thousands of people — largely from Dalit community — who had gathered to pay respects at the victory memorial to the Mahar soldiers who fought with British to defeat the Brahminical Peshwa regime, clashed with right-wing Hindutva groups. Mr. Azad was in Mumbai three day back to address a rally, but was kept detained for two days by police. He was denied permission to hold a rally, and barred from visiting Chaityabhoomi in Dadar.

“We all know what happened there after the rally. In addition, the police force is busy on bandobast for December 31. Why do you want to organise the rally on the same day? You can hold it at a later date,” said Mr Kesarkar.

Meanwhile, the state government has made heavy bandobast for visitors to the memorial on Tuesday.

“A total of 5,000 constables, 12 State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) platoons, 1,200 homeguards will be deployed. Inspector General of Police, Superintendent of Police and eight additional SPs along with other officers will be on the field. Additional 2,000 volunteers too have been posted,” said Mr. Kesarkar. Parking arrangement for 7,500 cars has been made, plus 200 special buses will be used to carry people to the victory memorial.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:35:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/hold-rallies-after-jan-2-maharashtra-minister-tells-bhim-army-chief/article25874569.ece

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