Mumbai Police cancels Mevani-Khalid event, detains students, activists

Mumbai: Police on Thursday denied permission to a summit scheduled to be addressed by Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid and detained students gathered outside a hall here for the event.

A police official said the number of students and activists detained outside the Bhaidas Hall in suburban Vile Parle was not yet available.

The action came after police denied permission for the ‘All India Students Summit 2018’, which was scheduled to be held on Thursday, in which Mevani and Khalid were invited.

The police denied permission in the wake of protests and bandh in the state on Wednesday following violence on the anniversary of a battle fought 200 years ago at Bhima Koregaon in Pune, a senior police official said.

The police has not given permission for the programme, Datta Daghe, the president of Chhatra Bharati, the organiser of the event, said.

“Despite this we plan to go ahead with the programme. Mevani, Khalid and other invitees are coming after 11 am,” he said.

Daghe said there was a huge police presence at the hall and the students were not being allowed to go inside.

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 in Pune.

Violence erupted in Pune district when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa’s Army.