A scuffle broke out on Sunday between the Warkaris (devotees of Lord Vitthal) and police during a religious procession in Maharashtra's Pune district. The incident occurred when the Warkaris attempted to enter the Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Samadhi Mandir in Alandi town, located 22 km from Pune city.
Deputy Chief Minister Disputes Allegations of Lathi Charge
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has denied the allegations made by opposition parties that the police lathi-charged the Warkaris. Fadnavis claimed that a minor fight had broken out and that police officers were injured in the process.
Restricted Entry System Implemented after Previous Year's Stampede
Learning from last year's stampede-like situation in Alandi, the authorities decided to issue a restricted number of entry passes to different Warkari groups participating in the pilgrimage. Each group was allotted 75 passes. However, a significant number of youths, approximately 400-500, chose to disregard the entry system and insisted on participating, resulting in the breaking of barricades.
Police Intervention Leads to Injuries
In an attempt to stop the unauthorized entry, police personnel intervened, leading to injuries among both the Warkaris and the officers. Fadnavis emphasized the importance of finding a solution to prevent such incidents and ensure the safety and security of the Warkari community and the people.
Deputy Chief Minister Urges Opposition Parties to Avoid Politics
Fadnavis called for opposition parties not to politicize the issue and prioritize the well-being of the Warkari community and the general public. He urged politicians not to exploit the situation for their own gain. Fadnavis assured that the police had been instructed to find a suitable resolution.
Opposition Demands Resignation and High-Level Inquiry
Opposition parties, including the Congress and the NCP, demanded the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis and called for a high-level inquiry into the incident. They criticized the government's handling of the situation and sought accountability for the alleged lathi charge.
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