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Meeting to Review Bhima Koregaon Cases Begins, Maharashtra Deputy CM & Home Minister in Attendance

Policemen accompany Dalit groups as they staged a protest against the violence in Bhima-Koregaon area of Pune.  (Photo: PTI)

Policemen accompany Dalit groups as they staged a protest against the violence in Bhima-Koregaon area of Pune. (Photo: PTI)

Violence had erupted near Koregaon-Bhima in Pune district on January 1, 2018, when Dalit groups were commemorating bicentenary of a British-era battle.

Mumbai: The meeting between Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Pune Police officials on the cases related to the 2018 Bihma Koregaon violence has begun. Subodh Jaiswal, the DG of Maharashtra, and Rashmi Shukla, State Intelligence Commissioner, are present at the meeting, which will decide the future course of action in the cases.

Deshmukh said on Wednesday that the government was receiving complaints about the previous Devendra Fadnavis dispensation branding as “Urban Naxals” whoever held views contrary to the BJP’s ideology.

“We will think about this in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima episode. Demands are being raised about forming SIT to probe the matter. We will take a review of it through our officers and decide future course,” he had said.

According to Pune police, the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, was supported by Maoists and inflammatory speeches made at the event led to caste violence at Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day.

The Left-leaning activists arrested during the probe had links with Maoists, police claimed, booking them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Pune police had arrested nine activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao in connection with the case.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had earlier termed the arrest of activists in the Elgar Parishad case "wrong" and "vengeful" and demanded that a Special Investigation Team be set up under a retired judge to probe the action taken by Pune police.

NCP leader and MLA Dhananjay Munde too had sought withdrawal of cases, a demand that comes days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced dropping of cases against Nanar refinery and Aarey Metro carshed protesters.

Attacking Congress and NCP’s demand of withdrawal of false Bhima-Koregaon cases, opposition BJP had dubbed it as a "blatant support to naxalism".

"The NCP's demand for withdrawal of cases is a blatant support to naxalism. Even the (Pune) court has admitted that there has been some primary evidence against the accused persons, which is the reason the court did not accept their bail applications," BJP state chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari had said.