Pune: No more programmes at Shaniwar Wada

Updated: Jan 26, 2018, 11:37 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh | Pune

PMC cites traffic chaos, crowds that throng area, along with those that attend functions there as reason; decision comes after the controversial Elgaar Parishad was held there

Only PMC and government programmes will be allowed at Shaniwar Wada
Only PMC and government programmes will be allowed at Shaniwar Wada

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided not to allow any programmes to be held at Shaniwar Wada. The decision comes after the Elgaar Parishad, where Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid allegedly made provocative remarks which lead to the caste clashes at Koregaon-Bhima, was held there. However, there is no mention of the Elgaar Parishad in the notice about the ban on programmes.

The caste clashes took place at an event held to commemorate 200 years of the Koregaon -Bhima battle in which Peshwa Bajirao II was defeated by British imperial forces comprising Dalit soldiers. Dalits view the battle as the defeat of the ‘casteism’ of upper-caste Peshwas. One person was killed in the clashes.

Police had booked Mevani and Khalid. Police had also registered an FIR against right-wing leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’ under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and under various sections of the IPC including attempt to murder in connection with the caste clashes.

On Friday, the PMC issued a notice in all newspapers mentioning that Shaniwar Wada is a historical monument surrounded by the Lal Mahal, and various temples as well as the famous five Ganpati temples and the traffic around it is always in chaos, added to the crowds that throng there. To this people attending programmes at Shaniwar Wada are added, hence the decision.

PMC Commissioner Kunal Kumar said, “The decision was taken after the traffic police pointed out that private programmes at the fort always lead to major traffic snarls on the adjacent Shivaji Road and Bajirao Road, as well as congestion in the peth areas.” The PMC will only allow its own programmes and those of the government at Shaniwar Wada. The foundation stone of the fort was laid in 1730 on January 13 which was a Saturday and so it was named Shaniwar Wada and was the seat of the Peshwa empire.

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