State-wide Bandh called by Dalit groups to protest against the violent clashes that erupted during Bhima Koregaon battle anniversary on January 1 has played havoc with the daily life of the commoners in Mumbai.Demonstrations and protests held in different parts of the city caused congestions on the city roads and train services were affected after protestors blocked streches of the tracks.The timeline of the events can be traced back to January 1, when scores of people belonging to Mahar community in Maharashtra gathered near the ‘victory pillar’ in Koregaon to commemorate the Battle of Koregaon that took place between the British and the Maratha ruler, Peshwa Baji Rao II on 1 January 1818. The Peshwas (Brahmins) had mistreated Mahars (Dalits) for long due to their lower caste status inspite of their excellent military valour and skills. In the Battle of Koregaon, the Mahars formed the majority of the British army. According to historical evidences, the Britishers won the battle which restored the pride of the Mahars.On Monday, thousands of Mahars had congregated around the villages of Bhima Koregaon near Pune to commemorate 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregoan. Things turned sour when clashes erupted between the members of the Dalit and Maratha community, leading to the death of a 30-year old Dalit youth and injuries to several others.Members of the Dalit community staged protests in Pune, Mumbai and other districts of Maharashtra on Tuesday, demanding action against the Marathas and calling for a Bandh in Maharashtra on Wednesday. In the wake of the Bandh, schools remained closed, shops and stores were shut, metro services were suspended in various parts of Mumbai and train services were also disrupted. Demonstrators, in turn, stopped vehicles from plying on the road, shut down a few establishments forcibly, ensuring that the shutdown was successful. The Bandh, which was largely peaceful with increased patrolling of the Police in major parts of the state, has now been called off by Dalit groups and it is hoped that normalcy will soon be restored in the state.
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