Indian caste protests hit Mumbai

Police stand guard at during a protest in Mumbai. Members of the Dalit community obstructed roads, damaged buses and marched down railway tracks, delaying train services, which are the lifeline of India’s bustling financial capital. (AFP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Indian caste protests hit Mumbai

MUMBAI: Demonstrators from India’s lowest caste blocked roads and railways across Mumbai on Wednesday in protest against violence involving Hindu nationalist groups at an event commemorating a 200-year-old battle.
Members of the Dalit community obstructed roads, damaged buses and marched down railway tracks, delaying train services, which are the lifeline of India’s bustling financial capital.
Some schools and business opted to close as a precaution while the city’s famous lunchbox delivery men, called “Dabbawalas,” also canceled their services.
The protests came in response to violence, which broke out at a ceremony in a village near Pune in Maharashtra state on Monday, leaving one man dead.
Dalits had gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in 1818, in which they helped British colonial forces defeat the high-caste Peshwas.
Dalit leaders accused right-wing Hindus of inciting Monday’s clashes, which spread to other areas of Maharashtra of which Mumbai is the capital.
The state government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the clashes.
Mumbai police said more than 100 demonstrators had been arrested and nine cases of unlawful activity had been registered.
On Wednesday politicians called for a peaceful end to the violence.
“There is an attempt to create a social divide which we have to foil unitedly,” said Neelam Gorhe, a leader of the right-wing Hindu party Shiv Sena.


Migrant rescue ship docks in Spain’s Mallorca

Updated 55 min 12 sec ago
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Migrant rescue ship docks in Spain’s Mallorca

  • Video posted by the group showing the floating bodies and the rescue of another woman still alive caused outrage across Europe
  • The rescuers had refused to dock in Italy saying they didn’t trust how Italian authorities would handle an investigation into the wreckage

BARCELONA, Spain: A Spanish rescue vessel carrying two dead bodies and a survivor from a migrant boat wreck has docked in a Mallorca port after a four-day journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
The aid group Proactiva Open Arms had found the bodies of a small boy and a woman on Tuesday and accused Libya’s coast guards of abandoning them after intercepting dozens of Europe-bound migrants.
Video posted by the group showing the floating bodies and the rescue of another woman still alive caused outrage across Europe.
The rescuers had refused to dock in Italy saying they didn’t trust how Italian authorities would handle an investigation into the wreckage. Rome and the European Union have trained and financed the Libyan coast guard to halt the flow of migration.