The Koregaon Bhima inquiry commission, probing the January 1, 2018 violence around Koregaon Bhima village in Maharashtra’s Pune district, was on Tuesday given the “final" extension till December 31, 2020 to submit its report, by the state government. This will be the seventh extension being granted to the commission.
“The previous extension was given to the commission till April 8, 2020, however, due to the lockdown in the state, further extension was under consideration. The home department has now granted the seventh and final extension till December 31, 2020, to the commission and asked it submit its report," the home department said in a notification. Commission secretary V V Palnitkar said they had written to the state government requesting to hold the notification till December and take the decision as per the future COVID-19 situation.
“Even if we decide to resume our work by following social distancing norms, it would not be possible in a court room in Mumbai," he told PTI. Palnitkar said several staff members of the commission are above 60 years of age and it would bedifficult for them to travel in local trains.
“It would not be feasible for witnesses to come to Mumbai and appear before the commission," he said. The Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case is now heard in the special NIA (National Investigation Agency) court in Mumbai.
Violence had broken out near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune district on January 1, 2018. Dalits visit the memorial in large numbers as it commemorates the victory of British forces, which included Dalit soldiers over the army of the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of Pune in 1818.
The police had claimed that provocative speeches at Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, led to the violence and Maoists were behind the conclave. They later arrested several Left-leaning activists including Telugu poet Varavara Rao and activist Sudha Bharadwaj for alleged links to Maoists.