PUNE : Bhim Army founder-chief Chandrashekhar Azad, alias Ravan, reached the city amid tight security on Sunday night and said he would visit Koregaon Bhima and conduct a rally here, provided the high court gives him permission.

The Pune city police have denied permission to Azad’s rally scheduled on Tuesday at SSPMS ground off Raja Bahadur Mill road. On Sunday, the police made adequate security arrangements at various junctions of Bund Garden road, in the Camp area and on the ground behind SSPMS.

Earlier in the day, Bhim Army members removed the stage set up a couple of days ago for the public rally. On reaching Pune, Azad first offered his tribute at the statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar near the district collector’s office.

Holding a copy of the Constitution, he addressed the gathering at the spot and also spoke with the media. “Our application for the rally was rejected by the Pune authorities in Pune. We have sought the court’s permission to hold the rally. The court is likely to pronounce a judgment on Monday morning. If the court denies us the nod, we will interact with the people,” Azad said.

On his detention in Mumbai, Azad said, “I am Babasaheb Ambedkar’s son and was not allowed to visit Chaitya Bhumi. I think it was a political stunt by the state.”

The Mumbai police on Sunday released Azad from house arrest, following which he started his journey to Pune. The Pune rural police provided an escort to him from Lonavla to Kiwale bridge. As Azad is expected to stay in a hotel in Camp, several policemen were deployed in the area.

“We have not issued permission to his rally. If he conducts a rally, the police will take legal action,” deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Ashok Morale told TOI.

Azad said he would visit Koregaon Bhima on January 1, where a few lakh people were expected to visit the Victory Pillar (Vijay Stambh) off Pune-Ahmednagar highway, about 35km from here. “I am planning to walk to Koregaon Bhima with the common people. I will interact with the people there,” he said.

When asked about the Elgar Parishad case and the subsequent arrest of the activists, Azad said, “It was a political stunt.”



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