A group of Dalits take part in a protest rally during the Maharashtra bandh called over the Bhima Koregaon violence, in Karad, Maharashtra.(HT FILE PHOTO)
A group of Dalits take part in a protest rally during the Maharashtra bandh called over the Bhima Koregaon violence, in Karad, Maharashtra.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Bhima Koregaon: When narrative takes a U-turn, ‘urban faces of Maoism’ exposed

A senior official directly involved in the investigation said on the condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the media that those arrested on Monday were involved in financing December 31, Elgar Parishad in Pune to deliberately create trouble.
By Yogesh Joshi | Hindustan Times, Pune
UPDATED ON JUN 07, 2018 03:19 PM IST

The latest action by Pune police arresting five persons with alleged “maoist links” in connection with Koregaon Bhima violence is an entirely opposite narrative of caste riots in which role of rightwing Hindutva leaders were also being probed.

A senior official directly involved in the investigation said on the condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the media that those arrested on Monday were involved in financing December 31, Elgar Parishad in Pune to deliberately create trouble.

“The arrested people are in touch with naxals who are underground. They have also financed Elgar Parishad to orchestrate violence on January 1,” said the officer.

A large number of Dalits had gathered at Bhima Koregaon on new year’s day to commemorate the 200th anniversary of a battle they won while fighting alongside the British against the Peshwas, the upper caste rulers on new year. A 28-year-old man was killed in the clashes while damages incurred during the violence were estimated at 13 crores.

Joint commissioner of police Ravindra Kadam said that there was“enough and direct evidence” against the people arrested on Wednesday. “The documents we have, clearly points out that these people are the face of urban Maoism,” Kadam added.

Around five teams of Pune Police arrested Sudhir Dhawale, a member of the organisation Republican Panther; Surendra Gadling, a prominent lawyer; Rona Jacob Wilson, an activist; Mahesh Raut, a beneficiary of Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellowship Programme and Soma Sen, a retired English professor from Nagpur University from different locations. While Dhawale was arrested from his house in Mumbai, Dagling, Raut and Sen were picked up from Nagpur and Wilson was arrested from his Delhi residence.

The earlier first information report (FIR) against seven persons at Vishrambaug police had accused them, including members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), a left leaning organization, for inciting people during Elgar Parishad which lead to violence. The complaint against the members of the Kabir Kala Manch was lodged by Tushar Damgude.

The latest action has come at a time when Pune rural police have accused rightwing Milind Ekbote , Hindutva leader and member of Samastha Hindutva Aghadi for “orchestrating violence” at Bhima Koregaon. Ekbote was arrested after the FIR was filed at Shikrapur police station, which comes under rural police. The FIR against Ekbote was based on the complaint from Anita Savale, a Dalit activist. In the same FIR, rural police also booked Sambhaji Bhide who was later given a clean chit by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Jignesh Mevani, Gujrat MLA who is also booked by Pune police for inciting people called the latest arrest as “Attack on Ambedkarite movement”

“Attack on Ambedkarite movement : Maharashtra police has arrested Ambedkarite activist & editor Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai, advocate Surendra Gadling in Nagpur and Rona Wilson in Delhi. All 3 booked under draconian Unlawful activities and prevention Act (UAPA) while Bhima Koregaon culprit Manohar Bhide roams scot-free,” Mevani Tweeted.

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