Naxal links: M'rashtra police conduct raids over Bhima Koregaon riots

PTI file photo of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

In a major development, the Maharashtra Police on Tuesday conducted simultaneous raids in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in connection with the investigation into the alleged links between Naxals and the Elgaar Parishad held before the bicentenary celebrations of the Bhima Koregaon riots.

The raids were conducted by the Pune police, which is investigating the January 1 Bhima Koregaon riots. In Nagpur, the house of veteran lawyer Surendra Gadling was searched.

Gadling, over the last two decades, appeared for several alleged Naxal sympathisers and activists like former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba.

In Pune, houses of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) activists were raided. In Mumbai, searches were conducted at the residence of Dalit and Left activists. In Delhi, the residence of Rona Wilson was raided, according to reports reaching here.

It may be recalled that the Elgaar Parishad held on December 31, 2017, at Shanivarwada area of Pune, was addressed by Gujarat Dalit leader and MLA Jignesh Mewani, JNU leader Umar Khalid, Chhattisgarh activist Soni Sori and Bhim Army president Vinay Ratan Singh.
 
On January 1, one person, Rahul Phatangale (28), was killed and 40-odd vehicles and some other property were damaged after some miscreants attacked Dalits celebrating the January 1, 1818 victory of British troops over Peshwa Bajirao II's army at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune.
 
Following the incident, Maharashtra witnessed large-scale Dalit protests, which turned violent at some places, and a shutdown on January 3.

No confirmation

There was no official confirmation of the raids, but heightened security was evident around the raided places.

Reacting to the development, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh's Prakash Ambedkar said that the government has so far not arrested Sambhaji Bhide alias Bhide Guruji.
 
Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, had met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, several times and demanded the arrest of Bhide Guruji and Milind Ekbote.
 
Sambaji Bhide Guruji, the founder of  Shree Shiv Pratisthan Hindustan, has been given a clean chit by the government, while Ekbote of Samastha Hindu Aghadi was arrested after the Supreme Court rejected his anticipatory bail application.

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