THE MAHARASHTRA Police on Wednesday submitted a fact finding report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the protest that hit the state and crippled its financial capital. In its report, the State Police stated that “efforts were made by senior police officers to talk to leaders from both Maratha and Dalit communities to contain the agitation,” a senior official privy to the report told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity.
Senior officers from the Director General of Police office have appraised the government stating that they suspect the agitation called by Dalit groups and left wing organisations had support from “left extremist groups” and the local Savarna (non-Dalit) villagers were instigated by “right wing” organisations.
“There has been intelligence that for the last two-three months, left wing extremist organisations had taken keen interest in the celebration (the bicentenary of the Bhima Koregaon battle) eyeing the support of the Dalit youth for their cause and propaganda.
While the celebration were to commemorate the valour of the Dalit community, it was indirectly hurting the present ruling party,” said a senior official, who requested anonymity while dwelling on the intel findings. “On the other hand, the incident of December 29, of ransacking of the samadhi of a Mahar named Govind Gaikwad, was grabbed by the right wing as a perfect opportunity to instigate the local Savarna. The subsequent bandh called by the local gram sabha had a tacit support of the neighbouring Savarna villages,” the official added.
Sources said officers have also pointed to the visit by Gujarat MLA and Dalit activist, Jignesh Mevani, and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid. “Their speeches at the event cannot be looked at in ‘isolation’ and a through probe needs to be conducted on whether their speeches further fanned the already agitated protesters,” a senior official said.
Mevani and Khalid had attended the Elgaar Parishad, an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon at Shaniwar Wada, on December 31. The Pune police is already probing a complaint against the two.
In the fact-finding report, the Maharashtra Police has given a low-down of the events that led to the agitation.
The three-page report also mentions the December 29 event as the trigger of the agitation, the violence that ensued in Pune and the subsequent protest in Mumbai and its satellite towns. It has appraised the Home Ministry of the deployment, including roping in 30 companies of the State Reserved Police Force (SRPF) and Home Guards to tackle any kind of law and order breakdown across the state.