NEW DELHI: The Congress said it had lost several key leaders to violence in the past and demanded a fair probe into the Bhima-Koregaon violence case. The issue came up a day after Union minister Ramdas Athawale questioned the arrest of Dalit activists being described by the Maharashtra government as Maoists. Athawale had asked the government to take action against Sambhaji Bhide, an RSS acolyte, in the case instead.
“The BJP’s duplicity and double speak has been exposed again in Bhima-Koregaon. Union minister Athawale calls arrests of Dalit activists as ‘injustice’ and says ‘no relation of Elgaar Parishad with violence’. Maharashtra government describes them as ‘Maoist operatives’,” Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala tweeted hours after party spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said the remarks of the Union minister and Maharashtra’s BJP government showed that either of them was not speaking the truth.
“Cabinet is a collective responsibility ... if the Union minister is speaking the truth, there is no need for a probe ... and if the probe is going in the right direction, then he is lying. The minister has rubbished the police theory that the accused were Maoists saying they have been associated with ideology of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar for long. First let the NDA government arrive at the truth, then we will comment. The government must answer,” said Gohil.
“Till there is clarity within the BJP on the matter, why should we be questioned,” the Congress leader added.
Tsking up Gohil’s comments, Surjewala tweeted, “Who is lying? Union minister Ramdas Athawale also calls for arrest of RSS acolyte, Sambhaji Bhide @ Guruji to PM Modi, whom PM visited in 2014 and praised in a public rally in Sangli. Is this the reason why Maharashtra government is not acting against ‘Bhide and Milind Ekbote’.”
Maharashtra Police had earlier booked Bhide and Milind Ekbote for inciting violence against the Dalits who were celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in Pune on January 1.
“Terrorism, Naxalism and extremism are unacceptable. No one knows it better then the Congress, which sacrificed Mahatama Gandhi, Indiraji and Rajivji besides S Beant Singh, Shuklaji and Nand Kumar Patel among others,” said Surjewala.
‘Claims of Maoist threat to PM could be diversionary tactic’
Mumbai: The Opposition in Maharashtra on Friday questioned the government’s claim of a Maoist conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling it a possible attempt to divert attention from the Bhima-Koregaon issue or gain sympathy. “It needs to be investigated whether this info is correct or not and this is also true that Mr Modi is habitual of spreading such false info to gain sympathy particularly when his popularity declines,” Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said on Twitter. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that claims of such a conspiracy appeared to be an attempt to divert attention from the main issues related to the Bhima-Koregaon violence in Pune district earlier this year.