PUNE: Saying that the 1975 emergency was at least based on constitutional provisions, BhaRiPa leader Prakash Ambedkar, retired justice PB Sawant and retired justice BG Kolse-Patil, who were also the major organisers of the Elgar Parishad, issued a signed statement saying that there is a much bigger and undeclared emergency situation in the country.
The Elgar Parishad that took place on December 31 last year saw left-Ambedkarites like Jignesh Mevani, Umar Khalid, Prakash Ambedkar, PB Sawant, BG Kolse-Patil among others, address Ambedkarites that had thronged the Shaniwarwada in thousands to attend the programme where a pledge to never support the BJP was taken.
The very next day on January 1, violence erupted at the Koregaon-Bhima victory pillar region as lakhs of visitors gathered in a decades old ritual to pay respects to the martyrs of the war between the British Mahar Regiment and the Peshwa Army. Violence erupted by noon on the same day where upper caste villagers attacked the visitors with sticks and stones, causing injuries and property damage.
The statement says that since the attacks, there has been a systemic attempt to mislead the investigation by the government. “The police, from the very beginning, tried to pin down the responsibility of the violence on the Elgar Parishad instead of nabbing the real culprits behind the attacks,” the statement reads, adding, “Other activists like Surendra Gadling who are totally unrelated to the Parishad too have been hounded by the police unnecessarily.”
The statement goes on to describe the current situation of the country as an undeclared emergency and makes an appeal for people to be ‘vigilant’. “There has been a systematic attack on the democratic and constitutional values by the current government,” the statement reads, adding, “If this situation continues and the current regime is re-elected, the constitution will be buried with its values. The people must be vigilant and fight back with non-violent and democratic means.”