Bhima-Koregaon violence: BJP accuses Congress of using Dalits as tools to create anarchy

The Pune police on Wednesday arrested five people allegedly having close Maoist links, including prominent Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence on January 1.

Bhima-Koregaon violence: BJP accuses Congress of using Dalits as tools to create anarchy
Pic courtesy: Reuters (File image)

New Delhi/Pune: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday accused the Congress of using Dalits as tools to create anarchy in the country. Talking about a letter allegedly recovered from the house of Bhima-Koregaon violence accused Rona Wilson, he said, "This letter is not just a letter, it strips every cloth of modesty the Congress party was trying to wear. They have been exposed before the people. Dalits were being used as tools. This letter is a means of communication as to how violence can be perpetrated. Bhima-Koregaon incidents started on December 31, 2017, and culminated on January 1, 2018, and letter was is of at that time," ANI reported.

The letter was allegedly written by a core committee member of the banned outfit, CPI(Maoist), lauding the efforts by human rights activist Rona Jacob Wilson and others to make Elgaar Parishad - organised by Dalit and left-wing organisations at Pune's Shaniwarwada on December 31 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle a success. The letter, dated January 2, 2018, detailed a larger conspiracy by the group to carry out similar events in BJP-dominated areas, the police had claimed.

Patra added, "You saw Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat (MLA and Dalit leader)... This is part of a conspiracy to stop PM Narendra Modi's chariot in 2019... Congress wants to create chaos in the whole country... they are not bothered about Dalits... the Congress never did anything for them..."

The Pune police on Wednesday arrested five people allegedly having close Maoist links, including prominent Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence on January 1. According to Joint Commissioner of Pune Police Ravindra Kadam, Dhawale was arrested from his house in Mumbai, lawyer Surendra Gadling, activist Mahesh Raut and Shoma Sen were picked up from Nagpur and Wilson were arrested from his flat in Munirka in Delhi in simultaneous raids. 

Dhawale was one of the organisers of Elgar Parishad at Shaniwarwada. There Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) activists had allegedly made provocative speeches leading to violence at Koregaon-Bhima, according to an FIR registered at Vishrambaug police station after the event. Dhawale is a Dalit activist and editor of Marathi magazine Vidrohi while Gadling, a Nagpur based lawyer, also known as a Dalit and tribal activist, provides legal aids to those who arrested for Maoist links, police said. 

Sen is a professor at Nagpur University and her husband Tushar Kranti Bhattacharya was arrested from Nagpur station for his alleged Naxal links in 2010. Raut is said to have close Maoist links. Wilson, 47 is a native of Keral and is aassociated with for Committee for Release of Political Prisoners.

"While investigating the case registered at Vishrambaug police station, we conducted some searches at various places in the state. During the searches we found some evidence which was indicating that all those arrested had links with the Maoists," said Kadam. He clarified that the action was not against any Dalit person or Dalit organisations. "This action basically is a result of a Maoist link, which was established during the investigation. We are investigating whether this Maoist link has any direct connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence," Kadam had told PTI.

He had added that the case in which all these people were arrested was registered against the organisers of Elgar Parishad and Kabir Kala Manch members whom he referred as "Maoist activists". Kadam had further said that some of the arrested activists were the "top brass of the Urban Maoists". Asked if the Koregaon Bhima violence was a Maoist plot, he had said, "All five have close Maoist links and prima facie, their involvement is being seen in the matter. It is to be investigated whether they instigated the violence." 

The event (Elgar Parishad) was attended by Gujarat MLA and Mevani, JNU student leader Umar Khalid, Rohit Vemula's mother Radhika Vemula, and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar. 

Shaniwarwada, a historical fortification in the city, had remained the seat of the Peshwas of the Maratha empire until 1818. The complaint against the KKM members was lodged by one Tushar Damgude. The FIR was registered against Sudhir Dhawale, Sagar Gorkhe, Harshali Potdar, Ramesh Gaychor, Deepak Dengle and Jyoti Jagtap, a police official said. The complainant had alleged that the "provocative" speeches and presentations made during the entire programme "promoted" enmity between two groups.

The complaint also had stated that the "inciting speeches and presentations" led to the violence. One person was killed in the caste violence between two groups near Sanaswadi, adjacent to Koregaon Bhima. The violence led to the statewide Dalit agitation. The mobs had damaged and torched several vehicles and shops on New Year's day and the houses of local residents were also ransacked. 

The Pune Police had registered a case against Hindutwa leader Milind Ekbote and another right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide. Ekbote had already been arrested in the case. Bhide and Ekbote are accused of orchestrating the violence. A case against the members of the Kabir Kala Manch was registered under sections 153(a), 505(1)(b) and 117 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. 

(With PTI and ANI inputs)

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