Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Friday constituted a three-member panel to examine if any cases that were registered during the protests after the Bhima Koregaon violence and the Maratha quota agitation are fit for withdrawal. The three-member committee will be headed by Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) and will have two Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs) as its members. Although, there is no deadline for the committee to submit its report.
Going by the committee’s terms of reference all cases where there was no loss of life, the cases where the damage to the private and public property is not more than Rs 10 Lakh and where there was no direct attack on police shall be considered for withdrawal. Further, the committee will also consider cases where the accused are ready to pay the cost of damage. CCTV footage will be examined to ascertain the extent of damage and whether the accused had assaulted police.
Meanwhile, the committee will submit its report with recommendations to the home department, which will place it before a cabinet sub-committee for its decision.
Notably, in January, many places in Maharashtra were rocked by protest after the Dalits came under attack for visiting a war memorial at Bhima Koregaon in Pune. Likewise, the Maratha community’s agitation for quota in jobs and education turned violent in July and August this year. There was a demand from Maratha outfits and other organisations that the cases registered against activists during these two periods be withdrawn.
Bhima Koregaon Case
The Maharashtra police arrested many rights activists on August 28 in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave — ‘Elgaar Parishad’ — held on December 31 last year that had later triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village. Since then, the activists are under arrest at their respective homes.
Maratha Quota Violence
On August 10, the Pune police arrested a total of 194 people for rioting and arson during the Maratha quota agitation in the city on August 9. As many as 192 accused were produced in the court on the same day, 170 of whom were granted bail on August 14. Violence erupted in the city during a state-wide bandh that was called by the Maratha Kranti Morcha, who demanded reservation in government jobs and education.