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Maharashtra to withdraw cases against those booked for violence after Bhima Koregaon incident

CM Devendra Fadnavis tells Legislative Council that the state is doing its best to catch key accused Milind Ekbote; Opposition unconvinced

mumbai Updated: Mar 14, 2018 09:27 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,BJP government
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.(HT File Photo)

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to withdraw cases against those booked across the state, including Mumbai, following the Bhima Koregaon violence in January, as well as to compensate for the losses incurred during the incidents.

“The state government will withdraw the cases against those booked. However, history-sheeters who took advantage of the situation and indulged in violence will have to face the music,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said while addressing the Legislative Council.

Dalit groups and leaders have been alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has filed unnecessary cases against Dalit youths and arrested them.

In all, Fadnavis said, 622 cases have been registered against 1,199 people, and the losses suffered have been pegged at Rs13 crore.

READ: Maharashtra recommended Bhima-Koregaon clash accused Sambhaji Bhide for Padma Shri

Touching upon allegations that the BJP government is going soft on the prime accused, Milind Ekbote, in the Bhima Koregaon case, Fadnavis said all efforts are being made to secure his custodial interrogation. “The Supreme Court has given him conditional bail and said we can interrogate him. The Attorney General is fighting the case on our behalf so that we can secure his custodial interrogation,” the CM added.

He claimed that the state government had spared no efforts to get hold of Ekbote, combing various establishments in Pune, detaining his relative and even sending teams to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The Opposition, however, remained completely unconvinced and again alleged that the state is protecting him. “This man is giving interviews to the media, but the police could not nab him. This raises doubt on the intentions of the government,” said Nationalist Congress Party leader Sunil Tatkare.

Violence erupted when Dalit groups had gathered at Bhima Koregaon to celebrate the bicentenary of the battle between the forces of British East India Company and the Peshwa’s army, which was eventually defeated. The Dalit community commemorates the British victory as members of Mahar community, then considered untouchables, were part of the East India Company’s forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen to symbolise Dalit assertiveness.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 16:48 IST