Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday said he had asked for a detailed report on the Bhima Koregaon case, including its current status, PTI reported.
Deshmukh, who is from the Nationalist Congress Party, criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party for labelling dissidents and its critics “urban Naxals”.
Violence broke out between Dalits and Marathas in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018. This happened a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 between the East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy. One person died in violence during a bandh called by Dalit outfits the following day.
Later that year, the Pune Police arrested 10 activists in connection with the violence, and accused them of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). The Pune Police chargesheet also alleged that a letter recovered from one of those accused had revealed an “assassination conspiracy” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Most of the activists are still in prison.
Last month, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar sought a special investigation team inquiry into the actions of the Pune Police. On Wednesday, Deshmukh told reporters in Mumbai: “I have sought a detailed report on the status of the Koregaon Bhima violence; its investigation and aftermath.”
The Pune rural police had booked Hindutva activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide for allegedly inciting the violence. While the Supreme Court granted Ekbote bail, the police never arrested Bhide. “Whoever disagreed with their views were termed as urban Naxals and this is wrong,” Deshmukh said. “The previous government had set up a example in this regard.”
Last month, eight of the 10 accused in the Bhima Koregaon case had written a letter to the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission, alleging that the previous BJP-led state government had imprisoned them because they were dissidents.
Asked about the “Free Kashmir” poster seen at a Gateway of India protest against the recent violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Deshmukh said the police were checking the antecedents of Mehak Mirza Prabhu, the woman who held up the placard.