Mumbai: MVA govt to form fresh SIT probe into Bhima Koregaon Violence?

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government may form a special investigation team (SIT) to carry out a fresh probe into the Bhima Koregaon violence and allegedly inflammatory speeches delivered in the Elgar Parishad. 

Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told FPJ,'' Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, myself and senior police officers will meet on Thursday morning to review the investigation thus far and take a decision to institute an SIT inquiry.''

Deshmukh's move is important because NCP chief Sharad Pawar on December 21 last year had demanded the setting up of an SIT to revisit the actions of the Pune Police. He had also called for the suspension of police officers who made the arrests and had criticized the city police chief.

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Violence erupted in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on January 1, 2018, between Dalits and Marathas, a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 between the East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy.

Deshmukh alleged that the BJP-led government had dubbed people who were raising voice against its policies as ‘urban naxal’. ''Intellectuals from various fields were arrested for their alleged links with Naxal activists.

The MVA government will not suppress freedom of expression. At Thursday's meeting we will take a comprehensive review of the police investigation. The previous BJP government had set up a two-member Bhima Koregaon Inquiry Commission which is yet to finish its probe. The commission is also demanding an extension. After taking into account all these facts, we will take a call on the SIT,'' he noted.

The Pune Police had last month filed a charge sheet in the city court against ten activists and absconding Maoist leaders in the Elgar Parishad case. Pawar opined that “very strong opinions were expressed in the speeches” at the Elgar Parishad event.  However, he noted that people take such positions in a democracy.

“I have seen this in the past, during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. But people were not booked for treason then. This entire investigation needs to be looked into.

It appears that the police misused their powers and we can’t be mute spectators to this…The conduct of the Pune Police Commissioner and some of his aides is highly objectionable,” Pawar had said.