NCP seeks review of Koregaon Bhima case

NCP chief Sharad Pawar. (DH photo)

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP has urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to drop charges against human rights activists and civil right defenders arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. 

Two senior NCP leaders and MLAs Dr Jitendra Awhad and Dhananjay Munde have made appeals to Thackeray, the President of Shiv Sena and leader or ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi. 

"I have been maintaining that charging them under sedition was improper....the previous (BJP-led) government was trying to finish off the Ambedkarite movement by branding the leaders as Naxals," De Awhad said.

Munde,  in a letter to Thackeray,  said that the then Devendra Fadnavis government has slapped false charges. "The then (BJP-led) government has harassed intellectuals,  activists, social workers and ordinary citizens and labelled several of them as "urban Naxals".

So far, the Pune police have arrested nine persons in the case.

All of them were arrested in the backdrop of the 31 December 2017 meeting at the historic Elgar Parishad Shaniwarwada in the heart of the Pune city and the subsequent 1 January 2018 caste riots in Koregaon Bhima in the Shirur tehsil of Pune district. 

They all have been accused of having links with CPI (Maoists) - and that the Elgar Parishad could have led to the caste riots in Pune the next day to mark the bicentenary of the Anglo-Maratha war at Bhima Koregaon in which the Mahar caste soldiers of Bombay Native Infantry of East India Company defeated the Peshwas. One youth died in the incident which was followed by a Maharashtra bandh.

Those arrested include Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale (arrested in the first round) and P Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira (arrested in the second round).

They face charges of attempting to overthrow an elected government and assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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