Fireworks in Parl over Bhima-Koregaon strife

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Fleets of protesters on motorbikes were also seen roaming the empty streets of Mumbai shouting "Jai Bhim", a Dalit protest slogan. "I want to congratulate the protestors as they kept their calm even at a time when the emotions were very high", Ambedkar was qoted saying.

However, the situation on roads for the better part of the day belied Ambedkar's claim as incidents of road blockades, arson and stone-pelting were reported in Mumbai and elsewhere during the day.

Kharge said that the atrocities against Dalits has been on the rise in the country, alleging that such incidents have been occuring in the BJP-ruled states including Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday denied that a Dalit was killed in the Pune violence.

Some Dalit organisations had made a decision to take out a march to the house of Milind Ekbote, who was booked by Pune police under relevant sections of the Prevention of Atrocities Act and "orchestrating" the violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1.

Dalits staged protests in suburban Chembur, Ghatkopar, Kamraj Nagar, Vikhroli, Dindoshi, Kandivali, Jogeshwari, Kalanagar and Mahim, police said.

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Dalit organisations, led by the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), had called for a Maharashtra bandh to protest the state government's "failure" to stop the violence at Bhima- Koregaon two days ago.

On Tuesday, 100 people were detained in Mumbai, the police said.

"Nearly 50 per cent of the state's population took part in the shut-down", Ambedkar told reporters. Police sources said that the bandh was near total in nearly entire region even as police teams continued to be on their toes rushing from one place to the other following reports of stone pelting from sensitive areas.

Many shops and establishments were also opened for work as usual in the city and suburbs and there were the familiar crowds on roads and highways. The Pune-Mumbai Expressway was blocked for a short while at the Urse toll plaza.

While the demonstrators and the protesters also tried to block rail traffic on the Western line in the suburban area of Goregaon, stated by the police official. But tracks were evacuated soon and train operations have resumed. Mumbai's "Dabbawalas" chose not to provide their services today. Many schools and colleges were closed in the city.

The tension began on Monday when lakhs of Dalits gathered in the village of Bhima-Koregaon, about 30 km from Pune, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of a battle that saw Dalit soldiers fighting with the British, defeating the army of the upper caste Peshwas or rulers.

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