New Delhi, Apr 5: The serious mishandling of events during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon led to violent clashes between Dalits and Marathas, said Swaraj Vidwaan, a member of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC). The panel has sent its report on Bhima-Koregaon violence to President Ram Nath Kovind and the Centre. Vidwaan also lashed out at Pune Police over their alleged biases towards cases filed by members of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
“I will share details of the report at a later stage… it has been submitted to the President and the central government. What I can share, though, is that we found clear indications of politically motivated steps… people being forced to carry out certain anti-social activities. Many events were poorly handled and they snowballed later,” Swaraj Vidwaan, as reported by Indian Express, said. Vidwaan, however, didn’t reveal too many things reported by the NCSC. She was in Pune on Wednesday.
On January 1, a youth was killed in a clash between two groups during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Anglo-Maratha War where the army of Peshwa Bajirao II was vanquished by a small force of the East India Company that comprised a large number of Dalits. The incident led to violent protests across the state, including Mumbai. Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote are accused of instigating, planning and orchestrating the violence. While Ekbote has been arrested, Bhide was recently given clean chit by the Maharashtra government.
The NCSC had heard a number of cases in which the SC or ST victims were allegedly tortured or ill-treated when they approached police to file cases. Vidwaan had reportedly said in many cases, police would either deny to file an FIR or delay it, once they learned that the victim belonged to SC or ST community.