Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the BJP and the RSS over the Pune violence, alleging that their "fascist vision" for India was that Dalits should remain at the bottom of the society.
He referred to the incidents of violence against Dalits at Una in Madhya Pradesh and in the Hyderabad Central University, besides yesterday's violence at the Bhima-Koregaon village in Pune district of Maharashtra as "potent symbols" of the resistance to RSS-BJP's "fascist vision".
"A central pillar of the RSS/BJP's fascist vision for India is that Dalits should remain at the bottom of Indian society. Una, Rohith Vemula and now Bhima-Koregaon are potent symbols of the resistance (sic)," Gandhi tweeted.
At an event yesterday to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, a youth was killed and several others were seriously injured after violence erupted following an argument over the celebrations.
Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory over the Peshwa's army at Bhima-Koregaon 200 years ago, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community — then considered untouchables — were part of the East India Company's forces.
Police and fire men at a charred shop following the violence during celebrations of 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, near Pune. Photo: PTI
Some right-wing groups of Pune had opposed the celebrations of the "British" victory, which led to the arguments and violence yesterday.
Incidents of stone-pelting and vandalism were reported from Bhima-Koregaon in Shiroor tehsil, when people were headed towards the war memorial in the village, the police had said.
The violence sparked off protests in various parts of Maharashtra today, including in Mumbai, where the agitators staged a rail roko at Chembur.