Pune Case Against Jignesh Mevani, Umar Khalid Over Caste Unrest: 10 Facts

Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid have been accused of making provocative speeches that triggered caste tension between Dalits and upper caste Marathas that has swept across Maharashtra for the last four days

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Police took some students into preventive custody during the violence in Maharashtra.

Mumbai:  A case has been filed in Pune against Gujarat Dalit leader and legislator Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, who have been accused of making provocative speeches triggering the caste tension between Dalits and upper caste Marathas that has swept across Maharashtra for the last four days. Two people have died during clashes and protests. This morning, the police cancelled an event that Mr Mevani and Mr Khalid were to speak at in Mumbai and took into custody students who decided to go ahead with it despite the refusal of permission.
Here are latest developments:
  1. The case filed against Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid accuses them of creating enmity between people by their speeches at an event in Pune on December 31.  
  2. The next day clashes broke out between Dalits attending the bi-centennial celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle and local right-wing groups, in which a 28-year-old upper caste man died and 12 people were injured.
  3. There have been massive protests and violence by alleged supporters of Dalit groups across the state since. On Wednesday, 16 cases were filed by the police and more than 300 people were detained in Mumbai after a bandh or strike called by Dalit groups. 
  4. Protesters blocked rail and road traffic and damaged buses in Mumbai and its suburbs and other parts of the state. Two persons died on Wednesday, a 16-year-old who crushed to death while escaping police.
  5. This morning, the Mumbai police refused permission for an event, the "All India Students Summit 2018",  where Mr Mevani and Mr Khalid were invited, news agency Press Trust of India reported. As the students decided to proceed with the event anyway, the police took some of them in preventive custody.  
  6. Right-wing groups have accused Mr Mevani, who won the Vadgam seat in the recent Gujarat assembly elections, and Umar Khalid, of inciting caste tension. 
  7. The Pune case filed against them is based on a complaint by a Pune resident Akshay Bikkad who has alleged said that the two urged people to "take forward the battle of Bhima Koregaon." The complaint states, "Mevani provoked the people to come out on the streets and retaliate. Due to this statement, people took to the streets and tension gripped the city."
  8. Dalits celebrate The Bhima-Koregaon battle on January 1 as victory day. East India Company troops, made up of Dalit soldiers, had defeated the upper caste Peshwas of Maharashtra.
  9. Local right-wing groups had objected, asking why a British victory was being celebrated. 
  10. Umar Khalid is a student of Delhi's prestigious JNU who was named in a sedition case along with another student Kanhaiya Kumar in 2016.  They had organised an event on Afzhal Guru, who was hanged for conspiracy in the parliament attack case, on the JNU campus, where anti-national slogans were raised.




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