The Battle of Bhima Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818. The army of British East India Company, which had a large contingent of Dalit Mahars, had defeated the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy.
Some Dalit leaders and thinkers view it as a victory of oppressed classes over the upper-caste establishment of those times.
The Peshwa dispatched around 2,000 soldiers to attack the Company force stationed in Koregaon. Led by Captain Francis Staunton, the Company troops defended their position for nearly 12 hours. The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force led by General Joseph Smith.
The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry, and therefore Dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in Dalit history.
Every year the community travels to Koregaon Bhima to celebrate the victory over Peshwas. Being the 200th anniversary this year, a larger crowd came down for celebrations on Monday.
However, some right-wing groups in Pune had expressed opposition to celebration of the `British' victory. The protests soon turned violence, including stone-pelting and vandalism.
Twenty-eight-year-old Rahul Fatangale died in the violence and three were injured, according to the police. Prvate and public vehicles were torched. The violence also affected traffic on the Pune expessway and rail line crossing through the region.
The police said that the situation was under control.