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Winter Session of Parliament: Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge calls PM Modi 'mauni baba' on Maharashtra caste clash
Criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of caste-based violence in Maharashtra, Congress' senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, alleged that "anti-Dalit violence is increasing" in the country under Modi-led NDA government.

Taking up the issue strongly in the Lower House of the Parliament today, Kharge said that PM Narendra Modi's silence on such serious issues is 'astounding'. The Congressman further said, "He can't stay mum! He is a 'mauni baba' (mute spectator) on such issues."

In the meanwhile, the ruling party and the opposition parties including the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party, among others exchanged angry accusations in the parliament over the matter of Dalit atrocities.

Retaliating over Kharge's allegations, senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar said that the Bhima-Khoregaon violence that took place in Pune is being inflamed by the Congress party. "Instead of praying for peace in Maharashtra, the Congress is applying the divide and rule policy. They have replaced the British in using the policy," Kumar said.

PM Modi, who is a Member of the Parliament of the Lok Sabha and Leader of the House as well, was not present in the parliament and the opposition MPs shouted slogans of "Ask him to come to the House."

On Monday, as the New Year began, lakhs of Dalits gathered in Pune district where the violence erupted. According to media reports, some Dalit groups were celebrating the 200th anniversary of the 'Bhima-Koregaon' battle in which the 'Mahar' troops who were considered untouchable had helped the British East India Company in defeating the Peshwas, an upper caste community.

The Pune violence has left a young man dead and many others injured. Taking cognizance over the cast clash issue, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a judicial probe to determine how the man was killed.

In the meanwhile, Mumbai continues to suffer due to the Maharashtra bandh called on Wednesday. The violence has sparked several angry protests across the state. Trains have been halted for brief periods in Virar, Goregaon, and Thane while schools in the violence affected areas have declared a holiday.

Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bodhke told PTI that two incidents of stone pelting were reported in Nagpur city.

A man got injured in stone pelting in New Kamptee area, he informed.

According to the media report, more than 40 vehicles have been burnt and damaged so far while several houses and shops were torched by Dalit agitators following the Pune violence.

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