Bhima-Koregaon violence: Civil society groups seek release of 9 activistsUpdated: Dec 10, 2019 00:38 IST
Members of around 40 civil society groups gathered on Monday to demand the release of nine activists arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon case. The members also called for the government to drop charges against the accused Dalit youth.
The development comes around a week after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray agreed to withdraw close to 700 cases related to the Bhima-Koregaon and Maratha agitations.
The group under the banner ‘Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy’ will now be submitting their demands to Thackeray.
“Considering that charges against those protesting felling of trees at Aarey Milk Colony and protestors at Nanar refinery have been dropped, why are these activists still kept behind bars? There has also been a demand by NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) to release their activists. The chief minister should oblige. Additionally, while speaking about withdrawing of cases, there was no mention of these activists,” said Urmila Pawar, Marathi writer and activist.
Those present to address the media said that five people from Mumbai and four from Pune were arrested but no action was taken against other leaders who were involved.
“These cases were charged under UAPA, and utilised to criminalise dissent in the name of nationalism, internal security, and national integrity,” said Nikhil Wagle, journalist.
On January 1, 2018, a large number of Dalits had gathered to celebrate the bicentenary of the 1818 Battle of Koregaon at the victory memorial in the Maratha-dominated village Bhima-Koregaon, around 40 kilometres from Pune.
However, violence erupted between the two communities, resulting in riots in various parts of Maharashtra.