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Only ‘symbolic’ celebration at Bhima-Koregaon this year

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In wake of the COVID-19 state of affairs, Pune district administration and Ambedkarite outfits have appealed to the general public to keep away from mass congregations on January 1 at the obelisk at Bhima-Koregaon forward of the 202nd celebrations of the Koregaon-Bhima battle of 1818.

Rahul Dambale, president of Republican Yuva Morcha (RYM), stated all celebrations had been cancelled. “Instead, we will only hold a symbolic celebration at the vijaystambh [victory pillar] at Perne. We cannot permit the virus to spread. So, I appeal to all to stay at home and avoid congregating at Bhima-Koregaon village. We will be arranging paying of homage through online,” stated Mr. Dambale, who can also be chairman of the Bhima Koregaon Vijayasthambha Shaurya Din Coordinating Committee.

Pune district has round 9,000 energetic instances and has reported greater than 8,000 fatalities since March.

“Every year the day is celebrated with great enthusiasm on January 1. For the last few years, the footfalls have increased, with as many as 20 lakh visitors in the last few years. Given that all festivities have been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is not proper to go ahead with the traditional celebrations at Bhima-Koregaon,” Mr. Dambale stated.

Given the sensitivity of the event following the violent clashes of January 1, 2018, he urged fellow Ambedkarites to not fall prey to rumours that the administration had cancelled celebrations.

“Let no one be influenced by baseless rumours that the district administration is intentionally prohibiting the celebrations this year. Every social and religious programme has been cancelled this year because of the pandemic,” he stated.

Last week, Pune Collector Rajesh Deshmukh had reviewed the preparations for the annual occasion.

Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh too stated that folks ought to cooperate with the administration and added, “this year we have celebrated all festivals with simplicity. We should avoid large public gatherings for this one too.”

The Pune District and Police Administration had held two conferences on October 10 and December 9 with the organizing committee of the Bhima-Koregaon celebrations together with completely different get together organisations.

“It has been unanimously decided to hold this year’s festival in a representative manner only in the presence of a very limited number of people. The district administration has stated that no permission is given for any meetings, public functions and stalls at the venue,” Mr. Dambale knowledgeable.

Each year, lakhs of individuals together with activists of Dalit outfits, politicos, pilgrims, troopers and members of Ambedkarite courses congregate close to the 60-ft obelisk devoted to the fallen troopers of the 1818 Koregaon-Bhima battle at Perne.

The Bhima-Koregaon Ranstambh Seva Sangh (BKRSS), which organises the ceremony, was shaped in 2005 to maintain alive the reminiscence of this episode [Dalit bravery in the Koregaon-Bhima battle] in Indian historical past.

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