Ahmedabad: A bus was set on fire and two trains were halted in Gujarat on Thursday as the fallout from the Dalit-Maratha clashes in Maharashtra that have led to two deaths spread.
Protesters in Rajkot’s Dhoraji town torched a Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) bus that was on its way to Porbandar while members of Dalit organizations held a rally near the statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar on Surat’s Ring Road and stopped two trains near Udhna railway station.
A message calling for a bandh in Gujarat on Thursday was circulated on social media on Wednesday night but failed to elicit a response. The message claimed to be from various Dalit organizations—including the Samata Sainik Dal, the All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF), the Saurashtra Dalit Sangathan, the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Sangh, the Dr Ambedkar Student Front of India and the Dalit Panthers—but MeraNews was unable to confirm its veracity.
A 16-year-old was crushed by a mob in Nanded in Maharashtra on Wednesday even as a bandh called by Bharatiya Republican Party Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar, a former Raj Sabha member and grandson of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, brought the state to a near-shutdown. The bandh was called off on Wednesday evening.
The violence began at Bhima-Koregaon on Monday, the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon, as members of the Dalit and Maratha communities clashed. The event was attended by Jignesh Mevani, the Dalit rights activist and member of the Gujarat legislative assembly (MLA), and Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid, and the Vishrambaug police in Pune have filed charges against the two under sections 153(A), 505 and 117 of the Indian Penal Code for alleged hate speech.