The Bhima-Koregaon strife and the caste violence in Maharashtra again made waves in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, with Opposition members expressing serious concerns over continuing atrocities against vulnerable sections like Dalits and minorities in different parts of the country. During a brief discussion on the issue soon after the Upper House met this morning, the
Rajya Sabha members condemned the violence against Dalits in Maharashtra and other parts of the country and demanded an impartial and speedy judicial inquiry into the Bhima-Koregaon episode. Some members also appealed for peace and unity in the society.

The issue had on Wednesday rocked both Houses of Parliament and triggered political fireworks outside Parliament too, with the Congress-led Opposition attacking the ruling BJP and the RSS over it. They had also gone after Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “continued silence” over atrocities against Dalits across the country.

Accusing the RSS and certain Hindutva outfits of allegedly sparking the caste violence in Pune’s Bhima-Koregaon that spread to other parts of the BJP-ruled Maharashtra, the Opposition had then also demanded an inquiry by a Supreme Court judge into the incident. Hitting back, the BJP had charged the Congress with “stoking” the caste conflict to divide the people for political gains.
Initiating the discussion on the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Congress MP Rajani Patil alleged that the violence against Dalits had taken place on the watch of the Maharashtra government. Alleging that Hindutva outfits were behind the Bhima-Koregaon violence, she demanded action against them and pressed for setting up of a Commission to probe into the entire episode.

NCP president and former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Sharad Pawar apprised the Upper House of the history of the Bhima-Koregaon event and the sentiments of Dalits associated with it. He said over the past 50 years no violent incident has taken place there during its anniversary on 1 January every year, but this time stone-pelting was carried out targeting Dalits participating in it.
Pawar said the state administration should have been more vigilant as a large gathering was expected in Pune. He made an appeal to all sections to come together and bring about peace and harmony in society.

DMK member Kanimozhi said the Maharashtra violence should not be looked as an “isolated incident”.