Athawale heckled by Dalit activists in Aurangabad – The Hindu

A group of Dalit activists tried to disrupt a speech by Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale in Aurangabad on Sunday evening.

The activists were protesting against the setting up of a separate stage by Mr. Athawale’s party workers.

Renaming anniversary

The police detained around 130 protesters for tossing chairs in air and shouting slogans against Mr. Athawale, who was speaking at a function on the varsity campus to mark the anniversary of the renaming of Marathwada university.

In the 1990s, following an intense agitation by Dalits, the State government expanded the varsity’s name as Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University.

This month, Dalits were attacked while observing the 200th anniversary of the victory of the East India Company’s army, consisting of Dalit Mahar soldiers, over the Peshwas. Following the violence at Bhima-Koregaon, Dalit organisations had resolved to celebrate the renaming anniversary on an united platform.

Row over separate stage

However, Dalit activists protested when workers of the Athawale-led faction of the Republican Party of India put up a separate stage for his rally.

Mr. Athawale continued his speech after his supporters formed a cordon around him. Assistant Commissioner of Police Nagnath Kode said the police later released the protesters.

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