After NCP's continuous demand for the withdrawal of the Bhima Koregaon case, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday has 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.
"On Bhima Koregaon case, the previous government had given an order. Has it been implemented? Those who did not have serious charges against them, the previous government itself had ordered to drop charges. I have given the order to probe whether that has been done or not," he said.
The decision was reportedly taken by the Thackeray in a meeting with the delegation of NCP leaders. Some NCP leaders like Jitendra Awhad, Dhananjay Munde, Prakash Gajbhiye have been demanding the withdrawal of the cases. Awhad had claimed that the cases were false and propagated by the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government. Similarly, Munde too had claimed that the BJP-led government had "harassed intellectuals, activists, social workers and ordinary citizens who had raised their voice against injustice.
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. The probe is still ongoing.
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. Meanwhile, Gautam Navlakha has received interim protection from arrest from Bombay High Court till Friday.