Maharashtra govt to withdraw cases against Bhima-Koregaon rioters

Maharashtra govt to withdraw cases against Bhima-Koregaon rioters

Maharashtra govt to withdraw cases against Bhima-Koregaon rioters

In an important development, the Maharashtra Government has decided to withdraw cases against accused booked for violence during the state-wide bandh called in the aftermath of the January 1 Bhima-Koregaon violence.

People whose properties were damaged during the incidents of violence will be compensated by the government. Speaking in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that a committee will be appointed to take a decision on the serious cases filed in the matter and submit its report within three months' time.

Besides, the government will take over the management and maintenance of the samadhi (memorial) of Sambhaji Maharaj - the son of legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Vadhu-Budruk village, around three km from Bhima-Koregaon.

Fadnavis said a total of 58 cases have been registered by the Pune Police in connection with the riots that erupted on New Year's Day and 162 accused were arrested.

The riots had left one person dead and over a hundred injured including 60 policemen, he added.

After the riots, the government had lodged 17 cases under the Atrocities Act plus 600 other cases and 1199 accused were arrested for various offences, besides 2053 were detained as a preventive measure.

On 29 December, the samadhi of Govind Gopal Mahar (Gaikwad) was vandalized in Vadhu Budruk, a village nearly 3 km away from Koregaon Bhima. Govind, a Dalit, had conducted the last rites of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's eldest son Sambhaji, who was killed on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1689.

On 31 December, the Elgar Parishad held at Shaniwardwada in Pune city to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Koregaon-Bhima battle had several persons including Jignesh Mewani, Radhika Vemula, Umar Khalid, Vinay Ratan Singh, Soni Sori and Prashant Dontha. Mewani and Khalid were accused of making inflammatory statements.

On 1 January, an altercation between two groups took place during the celebrations organized by Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan -to mark the bicentenary of the Anglo-Maratha war at Bhima Koregaon in Shirur Taluka in Pune district in which the Mahar caste soldiers of Bombay Native Infantry of East India Company defeated the Peshwas. One youth was killed in the incident.

Thereafter, January 2 and 3, saw violence and statewide bandh which was called by Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. One boy was killed in lathi-charge.