Organisers of the controversial Elgar Parishad event in Maharashtra’s Pune on December 31, 2017, have decided to rename the event and pare down its scale this time. The event, which is now called Yuvak Jagar (youth awakens) Parishad is being held on Saturday at the Sane Guruji Smarak.
The Elgar Parishad grabbed headlines in June, when Pune (urban) police alleged the December 31 event was responsible for stoking violence in Bhima Koregaon the next day. One man was killed and at least 40 people were injured when clashes broke out during the bicentennial celebration of a British-era war. Police conducted raids in several cities and arrested 10 prominent activists for alleged Maoist links, who have been charged with sedition, among other statutes. Petitions against the arrests are pending before the Supreme Court.
This year, however, the organisers — former SC judge PB Sawant and ex-Bombay high court judge BG Kolse Patil — say they have invited local and state-level groups to speak on the theme of “Save the Constitution”.
Apart from Sawant and Patil, the main speakers will be socialist activist Baba Adhav, and members of the Maharashtra Andhashradda Nirmulan Samiti founded by the late rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. A number of socialist, left-leaning, Dalit, Muslim and Maratha organisations have been called. Many of the speakers from last year’s event – such as Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Umar Khalid, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani or activist Radhika Vemula – haven’t been called. Also missing is the left-leaning Dalit group, Kabir Kala Manch, one of whose members has been arrested.
City police maintained they had not received any application seeking permission for holding the event.
First Published: Jan 11, 2019 07:45 IST