MUMBAI: Union Minister of state for Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Saturday met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and demanded action against those responsible for the Bhima Koregaon violence.
“We had a discussion with the chief minister for half an hour regarding the incident that happened in Koregaon in which a lot of public property was damaged. We are ready to tackle things peacefully in Maharashtra. Investigation on who was involved and who wasn’t involved is on,” Athawale told ANI.
Fadnavis assured Athawale that people responsible will not be spared.
“We have asked the concerned authorities to differentiate between such people (who were responsible for the violence and who were not) and take appropriate action. People who put fuel to fire, we are trying to find them and strict actions will be taken against them and they will be arrested,” he added.
Athawale defended Dalit leader and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid, saying they had nothing to with the violence.
He said that the Yalgar Parishad event where Jignesh and Khalid were speaking was a different event.
“Mevani and Khalid had nothing to do with whatever happened. They are two different issues,” he added.
Athawale said Fadnavis had said that the police will work peacefully.
He also added that compensation will be given to those whose property had been damaged.
Earlier on January 1, a youth was killed in a clash between two groups during an event to mark 200 years of Bhima-Koregaon battle that took place near Pune.
The incident prompted the Dalit community to protest on the streets in Maharashtra and other states.
A total of 16 FIRs have been registered by the Mumbai Police relating to the shutdown called on January 3 by Dalit groups.
The Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy at Koregaon Bhima.
The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force.
The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry, and therefore, Dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in their history.