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Bhima Koregaon Commission to resume on August 2 in semi-virtual format

PUNE: The Bhima Koregaon Commission will resume its hearings into the Bhima Koregaon violence of 2018, on August 2 in Pune, after being on hold for almost two years, according to the commission secretary
By Shalaka Shinde
UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2021 09:17 PM IST

PUNE: The Bhima Koregaon Commission will resume its hearings into the Bhima Koregaon violence of 2018, on August 2 in Pune, after being on hold for almost two years, according to the commission secretary.

In the light of the Covid pandemic, the hearings will be held in a semi-virtual environment, according to the commission.

“Only witnesses and advocates concerned will be allowed to enter the court hall. If the number of advocates exceed the sitting arrangement, admission to the hall would be given on the basis of “first come, first serve”. If any seats remain vacant after accommodating advocates; others would be accommodated on first come, first serve basis, but preference would be given to reporters. It is clarified that only one advocate per party would be allowed in the court hall subject to availability of seats,” read a statement from the secretary of the commission. For everyone else, a link will be generated and sent.

The two-member commission consists of Justice JN Patel, retired Calcutta High Court judge, and Sumit Malik, former chief secretary with VV Palnitkar as the secretary of the commission.

The two-member commission was formed by the then state government with Bharatiya Janata Party’s Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister on February 9, 2018. In its initial literature, the commission was tasked with following six terms of reference - identifying causes of the January 1, 2018 riots that took place in Pune, identify responsible groups, determine whether police and administration were prepared enough, and recommend short and long-term measures.

The commission which was formed in February 2018 works out of public information office at Madam Cama road, Mumbai and the Zilla Parishad building in Bundgarden, Pune. The hearings on August 2 will begin in the Pune office with a video link for reporters and public, should they inform the secretary beforehand.

The commission has so far been granted at least eight extensions. While at point the commission was looking out for a bigger space to hold more people, the stakeholders have decided to take the process online.

In November 2020, the five people who were scheduled to record evidence included Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party chief; Saurabh Rao, former district collector; Suvez Haque, former superintendent of Pune rural police; Ravindra Sengaonkar, IPS officer; and Rajendra Gaikwad, descendant of Govind Gopal Mahar whose tomb was allegedly desecrated at Vadhu Budruk.

However, now, the list of people includes Rekhatai Sahebrao Shivle, Sabhaji Shivali, Pralhad IShwar Gaikwad, Rameh Ganpatrao Galande, and Ganesh Arvindrao More, according to the commission.

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