The Maharashtra government on Tuesday said it will withdraw cases against those booked for violence during a statewide shutdown in January following clashes in Bhima Koregaon, near Pune, Loksatta reported. The police had filed 58 cases against 162 people.
The government will set up a police committee to investigate the serious cases, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the Assembly. The panel will submit a report within three months. The government will also compensate the people whose properties were damaged during the violence, DNA quoted Fadnavis as saying.
On January 1, clashes broke out near Pune during celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon – in which a few hundred Mahar soldiers of the British Army, in 1818, forced a much larger army commanded by the oppressive Peshwas to retreat from Koregaon. Violence erupted after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars heading towards Bhima Koregaon for the commemoration on New Year’s Day. Dalit leaders and workers at the village alleged that Hindutva activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide had instigated the violence. On January 2, Dalit groups protested in Mumbai. The unrest led to the death of a youth.
In February, the Supreme Court reprimanded the Maharashtra Police for not doing enough to arrest Ekbote, who had earlier been granted anticipatory bail by the court till February 20.