Officials appeal for low-key programs at Bhima Koregaon

Pune: Top district officials on Saturday appealed people to avoid gathering in large numbers at the Bhima Koregaon war memorial on January 1 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pune Collector Rajesh Deshmukh reviewedthe arrangements for the annual program at the memorial on Saturday.

“We need to stop the spread of the virus as we don”thave a vaccine yet. Therefore, we should avoid large public gatherings and organizethis program symbolically,” he said.

District Superintendentof Police Abhinav Deshmukh too said that people should cooperate with the administration for maintaining law and order.

“This year we have celebrated all festivals with simplicity. We should avoid large public gatherings for this program too,” he said.

The memorial commemorates the 1818 battle of Bhima Koregaon in which British forces, which included soldiers from the Dalit `Mahar” community, defeated the Peshwa”s army.

Dalits look upon the battle as the beginning of self-assertion by the oppressed classes.

There were caste riots in the area during bicentenary celebrations of the battle on January 1, 2018.