The Pune police on Tuesday raided residences of eight individuals with suspected Maoist links in connection with the Elgaar Parishad conference on 31 December 2017, which is suspected of playing a key role in inciting the violence the next day. This conference was held to mark the 200th anniversary of a British victory over Peshwas, which has been spun by leftist historians as a ‘Dalit victory’ owing to the belief that the the British army was supposedly comprised of Dalits and other lower castes while the ruling Peshwas were Brahmins.
The people raided with regards to this conference are Republican Panthers members – Sudhir Dhawale, Harshali Potdar, Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) artists – Jatiantachi Chalwal, Sagar Gorkhe, Deepak Dhengle, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap, activist – Rona Wilson and lawyer – Surendra Gadling.
During the raid a Pioneer report claimed that the police confiscated laptops, literature and pamphlets. It also described Hawale, Potdar and Jagtap as Dalit and Left activists. The lawyer Gadling has as per reports been known to have represented Maoists in court cases, with his clients being former DU professor G.N. Saibaba, who was convicted of waging war against India.
These raids were a result of a 7 January case which had booked six of the individuals under various IPC sections like 153A (promoting enmity), 505 (inciting violence between communities) and 117 (abetting public offences).
The said FIR also claimed that the KKM artists, Dhawale and Potdar were booked for their alleged Maoist affiliations in the past. It also claimed that the Maoists tried to mislead the Dalits and spread violent thoughts. These searches as per the report were conducted to uncover further evidence in the case.
Incidentally it isn’t the only time Maoism has been linked to the Bhima-Koregaon violence. Back in mid-January it was reported that the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested seven Maoists from Thane, and after raiding their homes found posters relating to the Bhima-Koregaon event.