No lathicharge on warkaris in Alandi but minor scuffle with police: Maha DY CM

Opposition parties, however, claimed police lathi-charged warkaris and demanded a high-level probe and strict action.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (File Photo | PTI)
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (File Photo | PTI)

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday denied reports of lathi-charge on warkaris by police in Alandi town in Pune district.

He said a minor scuffle broke out between warkaris- devotees of Lord Vitthal- and the police.

"There was no lathi-charge on the warkari community," he told reporters in Nagpur.

Opposition parties, however, claimed police lathi-charged warkaris and demanded a high-level probe and strict action.

The incident occurred when devotees were scrambling to gain entry into Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Samadhi Mandir in Alandi town, 22 km from Pune city, during the ceremonial procession which is part of the annual Ashadhi Ekadashi pilgrimage to Pandharpur.

"We learned from the last year's stampede-like situation at the same place (Alandi) and tried giving a few numbers of entry pass to various groups. It was decided to issue 75 passes to each group that participate in the pilgrimage," said Fadnavis, who handles the Home portfolio.

He said some 400-500 youths insisted that they would participate in the pilgrimage and won't follow the decision on the restricted allotment of the entry pass.

"They broke the barricades and the police tried to stop them, during which some police personnel were injured," Fadnavis said.

This decision (of allotting a limited number of the entry pass) was taken after a joint meeting with the principal district judge, the charity commissioner and the heads of various groups as part of the preparation for the pilgrimage, he added.

Police had made elaborate arrangements and held meetings with temple trustees to prevent any untoward incident, Commissioner of Pimpri Chinchwad, Vinay Kumar Choubey, had said.

While the police were sending batches of 75 devotees at a time, a few people breached the barricades and tried to enter the temple, he said.

"There was an altercation when police tried to stop them," Choubey said but refuted allegations that police lathi-charged warkaris.

Nationalist Congress Party working president Supriya Sule and Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole claimed warkaris were lathi-charged by the police and condemned the incident.

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