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Bhima Koregaon violence: 12 more arrested, suspects in death of Rahul Phatangale still at large

Police have also zeroed in on suspects involved in the death of Rahul Phatangale

pune Updated: Jan 09, 2018 15:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Bhima Koregaon,violence
Babaji Phatangale (left) mourns the death of his son Rahul Phatangale, who was killed during the Bhima Koregaon violence. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

The Pune police have arrested 12 persons on Monday for the violence taking the total count to 27 but even after eight days of the Bhima Koregaon violence, there has been no arrest in the death of Rahul Phatangale, who succumbed to head injuries on January 1.

The Pune rural police, however, have zeroed in on suspects after gathering crucial clues including CCTV footage, senior officials said.

Phatangale, 29, died during the violence on January 1 when thousands had gathered at Bhima Koregaon to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the war between the British and the Peshwas. Following the incident, Shikrapur police filed the First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified persons “bearing blue flags”.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Pune superintendent of police, Suvez Haque, said that the police have got some crucial clues and the investigation is in progress. “We have gathered 10 different clues and soon we will be able to make progress in the case,” said Haque.

While the Pune rural police are investigating the case, the chief minister has ordered an investigation of the incident by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

According to Haque, the rural police have arrested 12 persons on Monday in various cases pertaining to the violence. Among the 12 arrested by police, six have been booked in rioting while three persons were arrested for attempt to murder. The other three are juveniles.

More than 40 vehicles were burnt while a number of shops were damaged during the violence, triggered after case of Atrocity Act against 49 people in the neighbouring Vadhu village. On December 29, a contentious board was found put up near a structure believed to be the tomb of Govind Gopal Mahar in Vadhu Budruk village. The board said Mahar had defied the orders of Mughal king Aurangzeb and performed the last rites of Maratha king Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj after he was killed by Aurangzeb in 1689. Mahar is a Dalit community.

Local villagers, who believed that it was their ancestors who had performed the last rites of Sambhaji Maharaj, tried to remove the board, leading to quarrel, which resulted in the police case. The case against 49 people triggered violence at Bhima Koregaon and surrounding villages on January 1, leading to one dead and four injured.

“We have arrested 12 persons so far for rioting and other charges,” said Haque. Total eight FIRs have been filed at Shikrapur police station for rioting.

Four days after the violence, members of the Dalit and Maratha community held a meeting and decided to withdraw the cases and resolve all the contentious issues amicably.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 15:45 IST