MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting with Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta and Inspector General of Police (law and order) Rashmi Shukla on Monday and discussed Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s demand of setting up an SIT to probe the Bhima Koregaon incident and taking action against Pune Police officers.
But sources said the government is yet to take a decision on it.
“We have not yet received any official instruction from the chief minister’s office. Once the written order is there things will move at the government level,” a senior government official said.
Pawar even met Thackeray on Monday but those privy to the meeting said various issues, including Bhima Koregaon and cabinet expansion, were discussed.
Last week, Pawar termed the police action against nine activists as wrong and vengeful and demanded action against Pune Police officers for allegedly misusing their power to arrest the activists.
Nine activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao were arrested in June and August 2018 in connection with the violence. They were accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
According to the Pune Police, “inflammatory” speeches and “provocative” statements made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, triggered caste violence in Bhima Koregaon the next day.
Senior NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said the police should not misguide the government.
“The facts should come out and the action should be taken against the police who are responsible for the vengeful action against Dalit activists,” Awhad said.
Another NCP leader alleged that senior police officials enjoyed a close relationship with the RSS. “The BJP government has gone but the officers are still taking orders from their bosses of the previous government. We hope the new government under Uddhav Thackeray will clean up the administration,” he added.
Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar refused to comment on the matter. But another leader from the community and union minister Ramdas Athawale said: “If Pawar is asking for a fair investigation into the case then there is nothing wrong with it,” he said, adding that Pawar had been chief minister of the state and had always stood behind the police.
The case file
Violence broke out in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on January 1, 2018, between Dalits and Marathas.
The violence broke 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.