In a shocking video clip that has been aired by news channel Republic, it can be seen that the Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani was calling on people to take to streets. In a heated speech, 12 hours before violence erupted, Mevani could be heard asking people to take the ‘Battle of Bhima Koregoan’ forward against the modern ‘Peshwais’.
The video shows Mevani delivering a speech at the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in Pune district on Sunday. He says that the cause (of Dalits) cannot be fought in electoral politics. He says that the discussion should be held in state assemblies as well as in Parliament, but the battle will be on the streets. ‘The domination of one caste over other castes will end only after fighting on the streets’, he asserted. A day after the speech was delivered, violence broke out where one person was killed. Rahul Babaji Pharangade was allegedly identified as a Maratha because of his jacket that had Shivaji embossed on it. He was accosted, severely assaulted and beaten to death, according to local villagers.
This raises doubts whether the caste violence was planned. Many Twitter users also raised similar questions regarding the violence.
Twitter users also pointed out provocative messages which went viral on social media some of which calling for “burial of new Peshwas” taking a confrontational approach. Many people on social media pointed out how these posters could have played a part in the developments.
Many users were also reminded of the divisive caste-based politics Congress had played back in the 1980s.
Jignesh had joined hands with Congress, following which, he fought the recently concluded Gujarat Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, Pune Police has been approached to file an FIR against Mevani and Umar Khalid, the JNU student who was indicted by Delhi Police for allegedly getting anti-India posters at JNU at an event to show solidarity with Afzal Guru.
Two youths, Akshay Bikkad and Anand Dond, wrote that “due to Mevani’s remarks, tension has erupted in the state between two communities. He provocated (provoked) people to ‘Come on street and retaliate.’ Due to this statement people came out and tension erupted.”