Pune: Newly-elected Gujarat legislator Jignesh Mevani and activist Soni Sori will be speaking at en event commemorating the bicentenary of the 1818 battle of Bhima-Koregaon, at the Shaniwar Wada fort on December 31. Over 250 social organisations, including left-leaning and Ambedkarite groups, across 16 districts are to take part in Elgaar Parishad.
JNU student activist Umer Khalid, Prakash Ambedkar, leader of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, and Radhika Vemula, the mother of late research scholar and student activist, Rohith Vemula, will also participate, said Jyoti Jagtap, member of Bhima-Koregaon Shauryadin Prerana Abhiyan, the organising committee, on Tuesday. “The parishad will be chaired by former Supreme Court Justice P. B. Sawant.”
The six-hour programme will feature cultural programmes by outfits like Kabir Kala Manch. “The parishad would serve as a forum for speaking against cow vigilantism, khap panchayats, and persecution of liberals by saffron forces. We have deliberately chosen Shaniwar Wada, the seat of the Peshwas, to remind that the Peshwai mentality and the ethos of Brahminical superiority it posited, was oppressive,” said Ms. Jagtap.
Activist Anjum Inamdar, another member of the committee, told The Hindu that the objective is to form a liberal ‘joint front’ against caste prejudice and right-wing tyranny.
The speakers would then join lakhs to visit Koregaon Ranstambh (victory pillar), the memorial dedicated to the battle. As part of the tradition, several retired officers of the Mahar Regiment will pay homage.
Meanwhile, the Akhil Bharatiya Brahmin Mahasangh has taken objection to the event being held at Shaniwar Wada, and has urged the police to prohibit it on grounds that it will sharpen caste divisions.