In a bid to avoid violence in the sensitive area of Pune's Bhima Koregaon, the Pune Rural Police on Monday has issued a notice to 163 people including right-wing leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide ahead of the 202nd anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle. The notice prohibits the entry of all the listed leaders on January 1 - which marks 2 years since the Bhima Koregaon violence. The event was marred by violence in 2018 resulting in the death of a person.
Pune Police issues notices to over 160 people, including right-wing leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, ahead of 202nd anniversary of Koregaon Bhima battle on January 1: Official— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) December 23, 2019
Earlier on Saturday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the police action against activists in the Elgar Parishad case. Mentioning that no conjecture should be drawn from the literature seized from the accused people, he contended that an independent investigation was required claiming that a retired judge should head the SIT. On Wednesday, the police presented a draft charge sheet against the 19 accused at a special Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) court in Pune.
Previously on December 4, after NCP's continuous demand for the withdrawal of the Bhima Koregaon case, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray agreed to let go of the criminal cases filed against Dalit activists in the Bhima Koregaon case. Speaking to reporters, Thackeray clarified that the previous BJP-Sena government had ordered the dropping of charges against those who had not committed serious offenses. He added that this Sena-led government will probe whether that order has been implemented or not.
Violence had erupted at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018, where supporters had gathered in the village to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The ensuing violence had resulted in the death of one person and several others had been injured. The police had then registered 58 cases against 152 people for the violence and a probe was ordered into all the aspects of violence by the Bombay High Court.
In the related Elgar Parishad case, Pune police booked activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale and P Varavara Rao for allegedly inciting the Bhima Koregoan violence through their speech at the Elgar Parishad meeting on December 31, 2017, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). They are also being probed for having alleged Naxal links in organising the Parishad. Currently, all accused are in jail after their bail pleas were rejected.