A Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader today asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to withdraw the "false cases" filed against Dalits in the Bhima Koregaon violence, just like he had done for those protesting deforestation in Mumbai's Aarey Colony.
"False cases were registered against Dalits in the Bhima Koregaon riots. I have written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, asking him to take back all these cases," news agency ANI quoted NCP councillor Prakash Gajbhiye as saying.
Mr Gajbhiye said that students accused in the incident were in particular need of such relief because the cases filed against them were bound to affect their career prospects. "These cases should be reviewed. We want the Uddhav Thackeray government to provide justice to Dalits accused in the Bhima-Koregaon episode and withdraw the cases filed against them at the earliest," he added.
Violence had erupted at an event held to mark 100 years of the Bhima-Koregaon battle on January 1 last year, leaving one dead and several injured. The police filed 58 cases against 162 people during the statewide shutdown that followed, with then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis instructing the Maharashtra police to take appropriate action against everybody involved in the violence.
Later that year, police also filed a charge sheet against 10 people - including five activists - on charges of inciting the mob at an event held in Pune's Shaniwar Wada a day ahead of the violence. It was also claimed that a letter recovered from one of the accused threw light on a conspiracy to carry out an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as done with his predecessor Rajiv Gandhi.
"I request you to withdraw the charges framed against social activists, intellectuals and innocent people in connection with the Bhima Koregaon incident. The former BJP government filed false cases against these people, either subjecting them to arrests or court proceedings. Just like how you dropped the charges against Aarey protesters, I request you to drop charges against the people arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence," the letter read.
Two days ago, Uddhav Thackeray had announced the withdrawal of all cases filed against green activists who protested the chopping of trees in Mumbai's Aarey Colony for the construction of a metro car shed under the Devendra Fadnavis rule.
(With inputs from ANI)