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Police reject report blaming Hindutva groups for Bhima-Koregaon violence

Deputy mayor of Pune Siddharth Dhende, who led the committee, has claimed that the Bhima Koregaon riots were pre-planned and was not a fight between Dalits and Marathas in reality.

pune Updated: Jan 22, 2018 23:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Bhima Koregaon,Hindutva
Dhende also explained that the main demand of the committee before the government was to immediately constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to carry out an independent and fair probe into the violence, booking the culprits under the stringent sections of NSA Act.(HT FILE PHOTO)

Special inspector general of police (Kolhapur range), Vishwas Nangre-Patil, has rejected a report by a 10-member fact-finding and co-ordination committee that the violence in Bhima Koregaon was instigated by a small section of radical Hindutva groups.

The committee was appointed by the Pune rural police to find out the root cause of the Bhima Koregaon violence.

On Saturday, deputy mayor of Pune, Siddharth Dhende, who led the committee, claimed that the Bhima Koregaon riots were pre-planned.

“A minuscule section of radical Hindutva elements had conspired and targeted the Dalits. The local police also failed miserably in maintaining law and order on the ground. There was a significant amount of pre-event information available with the police but the local police did not take necessary action in advance, which could have averted the riots,” he said.

Nangre-Patil said the report was entirely wrong and misleading. “The government will issue a clarification in this regard soon,” he said.

Dhende the committee wanted the government to immediately constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to carry out an independent and fair probe into the violence and book the culprits under the stringent sections of NSA Act. He also stressed that the district collector must also visit all the villages affected by the violence and work towards strengthening communal harmony in the region, the committee suggested.

Dhende blamed Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide for the unrest and said, “There is sufficient evidence against them in terms of audio-visual proof.” He said that they instigated the violence against Dalits .

The co-ordination committee, comprising of 10 members, visited the villages around Koregaon Bhima, Vadhu Budruk , Shikrapur and Sanswadi and the other places from where violence was reported on January 1. The committee comprised members from the Dalit community, including professor Rahul Makhare, MN Kamble, Vikas Salve, Datta Pol, Shyam Gaikwad, Ramakant Khande, Rajendra Gaikwad, Kiran Shinde and others.

Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasabha demands resignation of Dhende

Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Mahasabha president and staunch Hindutva activist Anand Dave has demanded the resignation of Pune deputy mayor Siddharth Dhende alleging that the fact-finding and co-ordination committee headed by him was disturbing law and order instead of working toward bringing peace in the society.

“Dhende’s committee should have had people from all communities and should have met people from all communities affected by the violence. He is making statements without any proof and is doing something which the government has not authorised him to do. He is doing this to gain political mileage out of the incident. The co-ordination committee’s duty was to restore peace and not find out the reasons behind the incident. The government is capable and responsible for carrying out the investigation and not the committee,” he said. Dave issued the statement after Dhende alleged that Hindutva organisations were behind the violence during a media interaction.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 20:31 IST