On 1st January 2019, lakhs of Dalits will celebrate the 201st anniversary of the historic Koregaon Bhima battle. Dalits from across Maharashtra and many other states will come to Koregaon Bhima of Pune rural area to celebrate the victory over Peshwas. Bhim army chief Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan is also in Maharashtra to pay a visit to the victory pillar.
Chandrashekhar Azad also wants to hold a rally in Pune but the local police have not yet given him permission for the rally. The Bhim army has alleged that police are illegally detaining their party workers.
Last year, there was a clash between Dalits and right-wing groups in which one young boy had lost his life. Because of this clash, Maharashtra had witnessed massive outrage in the Dalit community. Violent protests were seen following the incident in many parts of the state especially in Mumbai where protesters had burnt vehicles, pelted stones on the police personnel.
This year, the state police have geared up to stop a repeat of violent clashes which had raised questions over the law and order conditions of the state.
The massive police force has been deployed in the entire rural area. Eleven drone cameras will be used to monitor the crowd. Twelve platoons of state reserve police force along with 5000 police personnel will be part of the bandobast.
Senior police officials said that this year police security would be ten times higher than that of teh previous year.
To stop any kind of untoward incidents, police have also started preventive arrests. Preventive actions have been initiated against miscreants, few criminals have been tadipar (banished) from the region. Apart from this, police have also issued a notice against those who are involved in violent protests in the past or accused of instigating the violence. Such people have been barred from entering in the Koregaon Bhima region.
Police have also requested the local villagers to help the Dalit visitors who will come to see the victory pillar. For Dalits the ‘victory pillar’ at Koregaon Bhima is a symbol of pride and victory over the upper caste Peshwas who committed atrocities against them for many centuries.
The special inspector general of Kolhapur region Vishwas Nangre Patil told Republic TV that people need not be worried. "We have made adequate security arrangements for the people. We have taken many mohalla meetings with villagers. All peacekeeping efforts are being done", he said.