The Pune city police has denied permission for the Elgaar Parishad, a conference planned on December 31, ahead of the anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
When contacted, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta confirmed permission had been denied for the said conference. “They had said that around 500 to 700 persons were expected to attend. So because of the safety concerns due to COVID and also for law and order reasons, the permission has been denied,” said Gupta.
On December 20, during a meeting called by ‘Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan’ at the Sane Guruji Smarak in Pune, retired judge B G Kolse Patil and other activists had decided to organise another Elgaar Parishad on December 31.
It may be recalled that the same body, Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan, had organised the 2017 Elgaar Parishad at the Shaniwaar Wada in Pune. Next day, on January 1, 2018, violence was reported in Koregaon Bhima area, in which one person was killed and several others injured. Police action into this saw the arrests of Elgaar Parishad organiser Sudhir Dawale along with several other activists, including Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navalakha, Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy, for their alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist.
This year, another Elgaar Parishad was planned and retired judge Kolse Patil even booked the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for the purpose. Kolse Patil had written to the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on the letter head of his organisation “Lokshasan Andolan” on December 21, that they want to organise a day long “intellectual discussion and cultural program” at the auditorium on December 31. The same day, Kolse Patil wrote to the Swargate police station about this programme.
Speaking to the media and on his Facebook (FB) page, Kolse Patil had called this programme “Elgaar Parishad”. But in the letters to Ganesh Kala Krida Manch and the police, he had not named the event “Elgaar Parishad”.
Asked about the denial of permission by police, Kolse Patil said, “We plan to move the high court (HC) now. If HC denies permission, we will go to the Supreme Court (SC)…..If needed we will change the date for the conference. But we will surely organise it.”
Meanwhile, Kolse Patil left a post on his Facebook (FB) account, raising questions on CM Uddhav Thackeray and the Mahavikas Aghadi government. He stated that the “so called progressive Uddhav government has done what Devendra (Fadanvis) of RSS did not do”.
Earlier too, in his FB posts, Kolse Patil had questioned the state government for the “police keeping a watch on their meeting”, and said he had played a role in the defeat of the BJP in Maharashtra. “Then why has your government withdrawn security provided to me by Devendra (Fadanavis) since 2014…Why are your police seen following me at my public meetings?” he wrote on Facebook. He also warned of a ‘jail bharo’ protest in case of any hurdles in organising the Elgaar Parishad.
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