PUNE: Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar on Wednesday claimed that some people had intended to trigger riots on the occasion of the 202nd anniversary of the battle of Koregaon Bhima to derive a political mileage, but the new government has foiled their plans.
Throughout Wednesday, lakhs of people paid their tributes at the 'Jaystambh' (victory pillar) in Perne village in Pune district of Maharashtra to mark the anniversary of the historic battle amidst tight security.
Dalits view the memorial as a symbol of their pride.
"During the time of the 'namantar andolan' (renaming movement) of the Marathwada University in 1977, political situation in the state changed and there were riots.
"Today is January 1. The government has changed in Maharashtra and some people, who wanted to politicise the issue (202nd anniversary of the Koregaon Bhima battle) had the intention to plan riots, but this time, we along with the state government foiled their plans," the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief told reporters after visiting the 'Jaystambh'.
Refusing to elaborate, Ambedkar said he would speak on the topic later.
Violent clashes had broken out in the area around Koregaon Bhima on the 200th anniversary of the 1818 battle on January 1, 2018, in which one person was killed and several others were injured.
Meanwhile, Ambedkar also expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements in place around Koregaon Bhima.
When asked about the 2017 Elgaar Parishad case and NCP chief Sharad Pawar's recent demand to withdraw cases against activists in connection with the 2018 Koregaon Bhima incident, Ambedkar said the stand of all the three ruling constituents- Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress- in the state government is of cooperation, which is welcoming.
The police had attributed the 2018 violence to the Elgaar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, where provocative speeches were allegedly made by some speakers.
Police are also probing the alleged "Maoist link" of some activists who had attended the conclave.