Pune: “The BJP and RSS are neo–Peshwas who are suppressing the voice of downtrodden. We all should take inspiration from the battle of Koregaon-Bheema and fight against this new Peshwa raj,” exhorted Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohit Vemula, while addressing a crowd of 5,000 people at Shaniwarwada during the event ‘Commemorating 200th anniversary of Koregaon-Bhima battle’ on Sunday.
Vemulla shared the stage with others including Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani, tribal activist from Bastar Soni Sori, JNU students’ leader Umar Khalid, Prashant Dontha of Ambedkar Students’ Association, Hyderabad, National President of Bheema Army Vinay Singh, Prakash Ambedkar, Ulka Mahajan and BG Kolse Patil.
The event, ‘Elgar Parishad’ was organised by 40 organisations under the banner of Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan.
Vemula said, “Smriti Irani and other BJP leaders have killed my son Rohit. All women and all dalit leaders should unite and fight against BJP.”
JNU leader Umar Khalid said, “RSS, which terms people like us anti-national would have termed Dr Amebdkar as anti-national. We are not anti-nationals, people who promote casteism are anti-national. Sangh and BJP are the neo-Peshwas who promote fanaticism.”
Khalid said Mewani defeated Modi and Shah in Gujarat and cut them to size. He said, “The government has nuclear weapons but no system to clean gutters. It’s an irony that a particular community is assigned to do this job. Dalits and tribals are ostracised in villages, farmers are committing suicide and our government talks about love jihad.”
Citing the example of killing of Mohammad Afrazul in Rajasthan, Khalid said, “Because of Sanghwad people are killing people in the name of religion. Sanghwad is a mental illness being promoted by the government. People adopted Islam and Christianity in this country not because they were forced to, but they chose it because of Manuwad. Modi is promoting fanaticism using his fascist and Brahamwadi forces.”
Santosh Shinde of Sambhaji Brigade said, “Some people opposed us for holding Elgar Parishad at Shaniwarwada. I would like those people to know we conducted our event here. Shaniwarwada was built on the dead bodies of our dalit ancestors; we the descendents of those dalits will not leave people who commit atrocities.”