Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, booked for giving "provocative" speech in an event in Pune, said on Friday that he is "just being targetted" in aftermath of the Bhima Koregaon clash.
"Not even a single word of my speech was inflammatory, I am just being targeted," Mevani was quoted as saying by newsd agency ANI.
Pune Police had earlier said that they had received a complaint against Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Mevani and Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) student leader Khalid for their "provocative" speeches at an event in Pune on December 31. Mevani and Khalid had attended the "Elgar Parishad", an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, at Shaniwar Wada.
Dalit leader Mevani said the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is trying to tarnish his image after his victory in Gujarat polls.
"Members of Sangh Parivar and BJP made a childish attempt to tarnish my image. It is an after-effect of the Gujarat results and it is also because they have a sense of fear about 2019," he said.
Another event organised by students union Chhatra Bharti-- All India National Students' Summit at Vile Parle-- featuring Mevani and JNU student Umar Khalid on Thursday was cancelled after police denied permission at the last moment. According to the police, the event was cancelled in wake of prohibitory orders imposed in Mumbai and several other districts of Maharashtra following protests by Dalit groups over Bhima-Koragoan violence.
Tension gripped many parts of Maharashtra after a youth's death on January during an event to mark the bicentenary celebrations of the battle near Pune. In the aftermath, a day-long 'Maharashtra bandh' was called by various Dalit and other organisations on Wednesday. The bandh was, however, called off later in the day.
The Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy at Koregaon Bhima. The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force.The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry, and therefore the dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in their history.