Bhima Koregaon violence 'pre-planned', Sambhaji Bide and Milind Ekbote 'main conspirators', says committee

The committee's report said that the culprits behind the Bhima Koregaon violence had already made arrangements, stocking sticks and stones at the locations.

Press Trust of India September 11, 2018 22:55:07 IST
Bhima Koregaon violence 'pre-planned', Sambhaji Bide and Milind Ekbote 'main conspirators', says committee

Pune: A "fact-finding" committee led by the Deputy Mayor of Pune has claimed the 1 January violence in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in Maharashtra was "pre-planned" and orchestrated by Right-Wing activists Sambhaji Bide and Milind Ekbote. The multi-member committee, led by Deputy Mayor Siddharth Dhende, on Tuesday submitted the report to the Pune Rural Police, who are investigating the violence.

Bhima Koregaon violence preplanned Sambhaji Bide and Milind Ekbote main conspirators says committee

File image of the Bhima-Koregaon violence. PTI

While the state government has set up a two-member judicial commission to investigating the violence, there are several "independent, fact-finding" committees that are probing the New Year's Day rioting in the village on their own.

One such committee was led by Dhende. Speaking about the report, he said, "Our committee members have visited the places where the violence took place. Along with spot visits, we also conducted interviews of the villagers and policemen. After an independent probe, we came to the conclusion that it was a pre-planned violence. The culprits had already made arrangements at the spots where sticks and stones were already stocked."

The report also has named Ekbote and Bhide as the "main conspirators" of the violence. "Ekbote and Bhide were directly or indirectly involved in the violence. Along with them there are some policemen who did not act in time. "We have recommended strong action against all these responsible persons," Dhende said.

In the past, Ekbote and Bhide have denied any role in the violence, which took place after the Elgar Parishad organised in Pune on 31 December.

Bhima Koregaon occupies a central place in Dalit history as it witnessed a major battle in which Peshwa rulers were defeated on 1 January, 1818, by the British Army, comprising a large number of Dalit soldiers. Every year, the anniversary of the battle is marked by thousands of Dalits assembling in Pune and marching to a war memorial in Bhima Koregaon.

The police claim that the speeches made at the conclave on 31 December, a day before the 200th anniversary of the battle, were one of the triggers for the violence.

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