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Bhima-Koregaon Violence: Five Arrested for Alleged Links With Naxals

According to the police, the accused spread inflammatory messages during an Elgar Parishad event and made socially divisive presentations.

Radhika Ramaswamy | CNN-News18

Updated:June 6, 2018, 11:50 AM IST
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Mumbai: Pune police on Wednesday arrested five people for alleged links with Naxals in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence during Dalit demonstrations in January this year.

The five identified as Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhavale, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut were arrested from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

According to the police, the accused spread inflammatory messages during an Elgar Parishad event and made socially divisive presentations. They are accused of inciting violence by organising the event and making provocative speeches to promote enmity between two groups.

The Elgar Parishad was organised at Shaniwarwada Fort on December 31, 2017, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, which was believed to be a victory over caste-based oppression.

On January 1, clashes erupted between two groups, resulting in the death of one person. This led to state-wide protests, violence and destruction of public property.

The police had been conducting raids at the homes and offices of the accused to uncover alleged links with Maoists in urban centres. Police have claimed that Dhavale is a Left-wing extremist and member of the Kabir Kala Kanchan, which is known for its association with Maoists.

Gadling, who is a lawyer, allegedly provided aid to suspected Naxals, while Wilson has allegedly been a Maoist activist.

The accused, however, said they were being wrongly targeted and made scapegoats to divert attention from the real culprits.

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