The Pune district administration has issued orders to invoke section 144 of CrPC in and around Perne village where the ‘Jay Stambh' (Victory Pillar) in the memory of the battle of Koregaon-Bhima stands. The area witnesses commemorative programs on January 1 every year as Dalits mark anniversary of the 1818 battle in which East India Company's forces which included Dalit troops defeated the army of the Peswha of Pune.
Dalits celebrate this victory as the beginning of self-assertion of oppressed communities. However, section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure will be invoked to restrict movement of people in the area ahead of January 1 in view of the COVID-19 situation, a district official said.
Section 144 will be in force from the midnight of December 30 to January 2, 2021, and people from outside have been prohibited from entering the villages around the war memorial. People should pay their tributes from home in view of the pandemic, the administration had appealed earlier.
"Since this year the commemoration ceremony will be symbolic, only those who have been issued passes by the local police will be allowed to visit the pillar. People from villages around the pillar are prohibited from assembling, holding rallies and wielding any sorts of weapons, sticks," said the district administration's order. Violence had broken out during the bicentenary celebrations of the Koregaon Bhima battle on January 1, 2018, in which one person was killed.