Congress demands thorough and fair probe into Bhima-Koregaon violence

Congress demands thorough and fair probe into Bhima-Koregaon violence

One of the accused arrested by Pune Police in the alleged Maoist links in the Bheema-Koregaon violence case, being taken to the court, in Pune on Thursday. PTI Photo

The Congress on Friday demanded a thorough and fair probe into the Bhima-Koregaon violence after five activists with alleged Maoist links were arrested in connection with it, and said the BJP's "doublespeak" on the matter had been exposed.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said that "BJP’s duplicity and doublespeak exposed again in Bhima-Koregaon", citing the remarks of Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, who termed the arrests of Dalit activists in connection with the incident as an "injustice" and said there was "no relation of Elgaar Parishad with violence".

"Union Minister Ramdas Athawale calls arrests of Dalit activists as 'injustice’ and says ‘no relation of Elgaar Parishad with violence’. Maharashtra government describes them as ‘Maoist operatives'. Who is lying?" he asked.

"A fair investigation, bereft of politics, is the need of the hour," Surjewala said.

He said Athawale had also called for the arrest of RSS acolyte, Sambhaji Bhide, whom the prime minister visited in 2014 and praised in a public rally in Sangli.

"Is this the reason why Maharashtra government is not acting against Bhide and Milind Ekbote?" he asked.

The Congress leader also said that terrorism, Naxalism and extremism were unacceptable as no one knew it better then the Congress, which sacrificed Mahatama Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, besides Beant Singh, V C Shukla and Nand Kumar Patel among others.

Congress spokesperson Shakti Singh Gohil cited Athawale's theory that Dalits cannot indulge in such violence and said the NDA should first clarify which theory is right.

"The cabinet works with collective responsibility. Athawale is giving a different theory while the police inquiry is giving a different theory, which the union minister is rejecting. So NDA should first clarify who is right, the police or the minister," he asked.

A letter found in the house of a person arrested for alleged maoist "links" talks about the ultras mulling a "Rajiv Gandhi-type incident" and suggesting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be targeted during his "road shows", according to Pune police.

The letter was recovered from the house of Rona Wilson who was among the five people arrested arrested from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi in connection with Elgar Parishad held here in December and the subsequent Bhima-Koregaon violence in the district, the police said.

Union Minister Athawale condemned the alleged plan by Maoists to target Modi, but said the Elgar Parishad and subsequent violence at Bhima-Koregaon near Pune had no Naxal connection.

Followers of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar can never be Naxals, Athawale, a prominent Dalit leader, said in a statement in Mumbai.

Several Dalit activists were among the organisers of Elgar Parishad held in Pune.

The BJP cited the internal letter purportedly of CPI (Maoists) that pointed to funding received by the proscribed outfit from the Congress to "stop the Modi juggernaut" in next year's Lok sabha polls by spreading "chaos" in the country.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the document has "exposed" the Congress like never before and has striped it of "every cloth of modesty".