8 months after Bhima Koregaon violence, judicial commission hearings to begin, but Dalit outfits want hearings only in Pune

Dalit organisations led by republican yuva morcha president Rahul Dambale, have demanded that hearings be held in Pune and a major portion of the probe be completed in the city as the incident took place in the jurisdiction of the Pune region and it would be convenient for local witnesses and organisations to attend the hearing.

pune Updated: Aug 24, 2018 15:31 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Bhima Koregaon,violence,judicial commission hearings
The two-member judicial committee has already visited vijay stambh memorial and Vadhu Budruk village and some other places during its official visit in May. (HT FILE PHOTO)

The Bhima Koregaon inquiry commission is all set to begin hearings from September 5. The Maharashtra government constituted a two-member judicial commission headed by former chief justice of Calcutta high court justice Jai Narayan Patel and state chief secretary Sumit Mullick to conduct the hearings. The hearings will take place in Mumbai from September 5 to September 7 and at the Pune office from October 3 and October 6.

This comes eight months after the January 1 violence which erupted in Bhima Koregaon, Perne phata and Shikrapur during the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon . Lakhs of Dalits were visiting the vijay stambh (victory pillar) when they were attacked by miscreants from right wing outfits.

Meanwhile, Dalit organisations led by republican yuva morcha president Rahul Damble, have demanded that hearings be held in Pune and a major portion of the probe be completed in the city as the incident took place in the jurisdiction of the Pune region and it would be convenient for local witnesses and organisations to attend the hearing.

Dambalesaid,“We have given a petition to the government requesting it to conduct the hearing in Pune and not Mumbai. The witnesses who will be deposing before the commission are Dalits, who are very poor and travelling to Mumbai for the hearing, will lead to harassment and add to the transport expenses. They already faced a tough time preparing affidavits at the time of submission due to the complicated procedure.

The commission in a public notification has stated that the witness proof submissions can be done at the commissions office in Mumbai on September 5 to September 7 and at the Pune office between October 3 and October 6. The commission has issued summons to those who have been called as witnesses for the probe hearing. The names of those witnesses and their date of hearing will be put up on the notice board of the commission’s office in Pune and Mumbai.

On July 16, advocate Shishir Hire, special public prosecutor, filed 110 affidavits on behalf of the Pune rural police, Pune district collector and other government organisations like Pune municipal corporation (PMC) and revenue department with the judicial commission probe ordered by the state government in the Bhima Koregaon riots. July 16 was the last day for the extended deadline of affidavit submission.

The two-member judicial committee has already visited vijay stambh memorial and Vadhu Budruk village and some other places during its official visit in May.

The commission was earlier given four months to complete the probe into the violence . The deadline for affidavit submission was extended after Dalit organisations led by Bahujan Bharip president Prakash Ambedkar demanded the same. Dalit outfits had organised a Maharashtra bandh following the violence, which also witnessed violent protests across the state.

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 15:30 IST