Elgar Parishad

Pune: Pune police, probing the alleged “Maoist link” to the Elgar Parishad held here in December last year, today questioned members of some organisations who were part of the organising committee of the event.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar said the police questioned members of various organisations in connection with the case registered at the Vishrabaug police station and their statements have been recorded.

Anjum Inamdar, whose Mulnivasi Muslim Manch was one of the organisers of the Parishad, said besides him, city unit president of Bharip Bahujan Sangh MN Kamble, Bhim Army’s Datta Pol, who was one of the organisers of the Parishad, Akash Sabale, Ashok Kamble, Jyoti jagtap, Ramesh Gaynor, and Sagar Gorkhe of the KKM was summoned by the police today.

In a predawn action on 6 June, separate teams of the Pune police arrested five persons from Nagpur, Mumbai and Delhi for their role in organising the Elgar Parishad at Shaniwarwada here a day before the 1 January clashes in Koregaon-Bhima. It is the police’s case that provocative statements were made at this Parishad which contributed to the clashes the next day.

The Parishad was organised to commemorate the contribution by Dalits in the battle of Koregaon-Bhima fought on 1 January 1818, between the British and the Peshwa troops. The Dalits were fighting for the British troops who prevailed over their Peshwa counterparts then. Pune police had given permission for conducting the Parishad. One person was killed and substantial public and personal properties were destroyed in the clashes at Koregaon-Bhima.

Caste clashes had broken out in Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district on 1 January this year, a day after the Elgar Parishad was held at historic Shaniwarwada in Pune.

As per the FIR registered at Vishrambaug police station, some Kabir Kala Manch activists had allegedly made provocative speeches at the event leading to violence at Bhima Koregaon in the district.

According to one of the members whose statement was recorded today, police inquired about the source of funding for the event.

Pune Police had earlier claimed to have unearthed Maoist links to the Parishad.

The Parishad was attended by Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, JNU student leader Umar Khalid, Rohit Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula, and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar.

The complaint against the KKM members was lodged by one Tushar Damgude.

The FIR was registered against Sudhir Dhawale, Sagar Gorkhe, Harshali Potdar, Ramesh Gaynor, Deepak Dengle and Jyoti Jagtap.

The complaint 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.