Brahman Mahasangh ‘welcomes’ Mevani, to mark 200th year of Dalit victory over ‘Peshwas’

Pune: The Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasangh (ABBM) “welcomed” Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and other speakers to the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ — an event to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

Earlier, the descendant of the Peshwas, Udaysinh Peshwa and Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasangh were opposing the event and have asked Pune Police to deny permission for the Shaniwar Wada event.

The battle of Bhima Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the East India Company’s forces and nearly 2000 soldiers of Peshwas.

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, an event called ‘Elgaar Parishad’ will be inaugurated in Pune by Radikha Vemula, mother of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula, whose suicide at University of Hyderabad in January 2016 had stirred a nationwide uproar.

The company’s forces were made largely of soldiers from Dalit Mahar community.

This war was meant to attain freedom from alleged caste hierarchy practised by the Peshwas, who were Brahmins.

Radhika Vemula, in a pamphlet for the conference appeals for Dalit and tribal people to unite and defeat the “new Peshwas” — the BJP, the RSS and other “Hindutva” forces.

The Conference at Shaniwar wada, is being opposed by the hindu outfit Pune Nagar Hindu Sabha, who called the programme as anti-national.

The Conference organised at Shaniwar Wada will be inaugurated on December 31. Shaniwar Wada was the headquarters of the Peshwas.

The speakers at the event are expected to be Jignesh Mevani, Dalit activist-leader and newly elected MLA in Gujarat; Chhattisgarh tribal rights activist Soni Sori; Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid; Prashant Dontha of Ambedkar Students’ Association, Hyderabad; Vinay Ratan Singh, national president of the Bhim Army; Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of B R Ambedkar; and Maulana Abdul Hamid Azhari, national secretary of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

The event will be presided over by retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice P B Sawant.

‘Despite any kind of opposition,’ the event will take place, said Datta Pol of Bhim Army