On Saturday, the Union Home Ministry confirmed the transfer of the Bhima-Koregaon violence case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from the Maharashtra law enforcement. The case dates back to 2018 when a clash broke out between Dalits and Marathas near Pune in the village of Bhima Koregaon. One person had died during the scuffle.
The move of the central govt came after the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra was considering forming an SIT into the case and possibly drop the charges against left-wing intellectuals charged in the case. After the case was transferred to NIA, former President of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi, took to Twitter to vent out his frustration. He claimed that “Bhima Koregaon” is a symbol of “resistance” and labelled the NIA officers as “stooges.”
Anyone who opposes the MOSH agenda of hate is an “Urban Naxal”.
Bhima-Koregaon is a symbol of resistance that the Government’s NIA stooges can never erase. https://t.co/vIMUSs2pjL
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 25, 2020
Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to glorify violence in Bhima Koregaon as some sort of a “resistance” mirrors the rhetoric often peddled by far-left activists on Twitter. Not only the case relates to a riot which caused the loss of life and property, the event that led to it was also questionable as the event was organised to celebrate the victory of British forces over Maratha forces.
The event by the name of “Elgar Parishad” was organised to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon of 1818, wherein the Peshwas fought against the between East India Company. In the war, an army of Dalit soldiers had fought under the British forces against the Peshwa, the reason for the celebration by Dalits. Violence erupted the following day of the event, when a large number of Dalits had gathered for the event and some of them had resorted to stone-pelting.
The Pune police had arrested a total of nine supposed “intellectuals” such as Sudha Bharadwaj, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, and Varavara Rao for inciteful speeches. An alleged letter recovered from Rona Wilson had revealed a sinister plan to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The police dubbed them as “Urban Naxals” and found that they were allegedly associated with the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The decision of the Union Government came at a time when the Maharashtra coalition government was pondering on whether to drop charges or set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the case.
The State Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh, claimed that the permission of the Maharashtra government was not sought before the transfer. He also called the move “unconstitutional.”
I strongly condemn the decision to transfer the investigation of “Koregaon-Bhima” case to NIA, by the Central Government without any consent of Maharashtra State Government..@PMOIndia@HMOIndia@PawarSpeaks@supriya_sule pic.twitter.com/Ov8PZlSknG
— ANIL DESHMUKH (@AnilDeshmukhNCP) January 24, 2020
NCP Supremo, Sharad Pawar, had earlier written a note to the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackrey, asking for the formation of an SIT and suspension of officers involved in the case.
Devendra Fadnavis, the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, hit back at the Maha Vikas Aghadi and stated that the coalition government had been demoralising the police for “the sake of votes.” He further added that even the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the police.