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Suneeta Shinde | HENB | Mumbai | May 6, 2022:: The name of iconic right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide (popularly known as ‘Bhide Guruji’) has been dropped from the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima violence case as he was not found to have played any role in the violence, police said in a report filed before the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on Wednesday. Violence broke out near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in Pune district on January 1, 2018.
The memorial, which commemorates the East India Company’s victory over the Peshwa’s forces in 1818, is revered by the Dalits as British forces also included members of the Dalit Mahar community. Pimpri Police in Pune district filed a case against Bhide and others under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and various sections of the IPC including attempt to murder as one person was killed in the caste clashes in 2018.
From independent sources, it is learnt that many Urban Naxal Groups wanted to create a rift between Dalits and Hindus in commemorating Bhima-Koregaon centenary in 2018 under the banner of Elgar Parishad.
In 2021, advocate Aditya Mishra approached the MHRC, saying that former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had stated in the Assembly that the case against Bhide would be withdrawn, but that did not happen. On Wednesday, the police submitted its report before the commission.
The one-page report said that as Bhide’s role was not found in the case, his name has been dropped. The commission posted the matter for final hearing on July 4.
It is also alleged that the Maharashtra Police put a repression on octogenarian Hindutva leader under various criminal provisions and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
__Inputs from Agencies.