Uddhav Govt Wants Bhima Koregaon Cases Dropped, BJP Hits Back
In response, CM Uddhav Thackeray said that the earlier govt had already issued orders to withdraw the cases.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and MLA Dhananjay Munde has sought withdrawal of cases related to Bhima-Koregaon violence in Pune, invoking sharp reactions from the BJP who called it a ‘blatant support for Naxalism’.
The demand,that has received a positive response from CM Uddhav Thackeray, comes days after he announced dropping of cases against Nanar refinery and Aarey Metro carshed protesters.
In response, Thackeray has assured that the cases will be withdrawn as early as possible, reported The Times of India.
Munde, whose party is a key ally in the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, has made the demand in a letter written to Thackeray on Monday, 2 December.
Violence had erupted at Bhima-Koregaon village in Pune district on 1 January 2018, a day after alleged inflammatory speeches were made at a conclave, 'Elgar Parishad', organised to commemorate 200 years of a famous battle between Peshwas and the East India Company.
A subsequent bandh called by Dalit outfits to protest the violence as well as what they claimed was police high-handedness also saw incidents of vandalism and damage to public property, leading to more people being booked.
‘False Cases, Request You to Withdraw Them’
In his letter to Thackeray, Munde claimed the previous Devendra Fadnavis government had slapped "false" cases against those named in the Koregaon-Bhima episode, including social activists.
Munde said the BJP-led government had “harassed” intellectuals, activists, social workers and ordinary citizens who had raised their voice against injustice, and had labelled several of them as “urban Naxals”.
“I request you to withdraw the cases,” Munde said in his letter to Thackeray.
Asked about the demand to withdraw criminal cases, Thackeray said, “The earlier government has already issued orders to withdraw the cases against persons facing minor criminal charges related to the Bhima-Koregaon caste riot.”
“I am finding out how many cases have been actually withdrawn.”Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra
Later, on Tuesday, 3 December, the chief minister assured a delegation of NCP leaders comprising of cabinet members Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal and legislator Prakash Gajbhiye that the criminal cases will be withdrawn, reported The Times of India.
Incidentally, some of the activists arrested by the Pune police in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case have been accused of having links with Naxal outfits, including the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
They have been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
‘Blatant Support for Naxalism’: BJP
The demand for relief for those facing cases in connection with Koregaon Bhima riots elicited a sharp response from the BJP.
“The NCP's demand for withdrawal of cases is a blatant support to naxalism. Even the court has admitted that there is preliminary evidence against the accused, which is the reason the court did not accept their bail applications,” state BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.
“Chargesheets have been filed in the case. How can one simply withdraw the cases?” Bhandari asked.
Last week, Thackeray had announced that cases filed by the police against protesters who opposed the Nanar refinery project in the coastal Ratnagiri district and Aarey Colony Metro carshed in Mumbai would be withdrawn.
(With Inputs from PTI and The Times of India)
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)
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