(Eds: Updating with quotes of a senior police officer) Pune, Jan 4 (PTI) An FIR was registered against Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid for their alleged “provocative” speeches during an event here on December 31, an official said today.Also Read - Breaking LIVE: PM Modi To Virtually Inaugurate New Circuit House Today Near Somnath Temple In Gujarat

Both were charged for allegedly creating a rift and spreading disharmony between the Maratha and Dalit communities, he said. Also Read - Maharashtra, Karnataka, 4 Others Among 'States of Concern', Centre Rushes Teams To Review Situation

Additional Commissioner of Police (South/North) Ravindra Sengaonkar said their speeches are being analysed and they will be summoned for questioning. Also Read - Gujarat: Rajdhani Express Hits Cement Pillar; Police Suspects Bid To Derail Train

Mevani, the newly elected MLA in Gujarat, and Khalid had attended the “Elgar Parishad”, an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima- Koregaon, at Shaniwar Wada in the city on December 31.

According to a complaint filed by city resident Akshay Bikkad, Mevani and Khalid allegedly made “provocative” speeches at the event and their remarks were aimed at creating disharmony and rift between the communities, which led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1.

Bikkad approached the Deccan-Gymkhana police with the complaint, which was forwarded to the Vishrambaug police station, since Shaniwarwada falls under its jurisdiction.

The Vishrambaug police registered the FIR against the two leaders yesterday, the official said.

According to the complaint, Mevani at the Pune event said, “If we want to win over this new Peshwai, the battle of Bhima Koregaon needs to be taken ahead.”

The Dalit leader said it was right that people fighting the battle needed to be in assemblies and Parliament, but if one had to eradicate casteism, it would happen only by taking to the streets, it claimed.

According to the complaint, Khalid, the student leader from JNU in New Delhi, said the battle of Bhima-Koregaon had to be taken ahead.

“They had attacked. It is time to retaliate and we will fight this battle and we will win and this victory over new Peshwai will be the true homage to the martyrs of Bhima- Koregaon battle,” the complaint quoted Khalid as saying.

Based on the complaint, offences were registered against Mevani and Khalid under IPC sections 153 (a) (delivering speech to create disharmony or feelings of enmity), 505 (giving statement conducing to public mischief) and 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than 10 people), the police said.

Sengaonkar said, “A police team had recorded the video and audio of the speeches given by Mevani, Khalid and others at the Elgaar Parishad.”

“We, too, could have registered the case suo motu (on its own). However, we could not do so since the event got over at 10 pm and thereafter police were busy in December 31st night bandobast.

“And on the subsequent days, the violence in Bhima- Koregaon and then bandh kept the police occupied,” he said.

“But since Bikkad has already filed a complaint and we, too, have all the material, officials of the Vishrambaug police have already started investigating the case and analysing the speeches of both the leaders,” he said.

Normal life was crippled in Maharashtra yesterday due to a bandh called by Dalit groups to protest the violence on the anniversary of a battle fought 200 years ago.

Violence erupted in Pune on January 1 when Dalit groups were marking the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the British defeated the Peshwas of Maharashtra.

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community were part of the East India Company’s forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of Dalit assertiveness.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.