Maharashtra govt extends term of Koregaon Bhima inquiry commission till November 8https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-govt-extends-term-of-koregaon-bhima-inquiry-commission-till-november-8-5723320/

Maharashtra govt extends term of Koregaon Bhima inquiry commission till November 8

The violence broke out on a day when lakhs of Dalits had gathered in the area to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

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At Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January this year. (File)

THE MAHARASHTRA government has extended the term of the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry till November 8. The order in this regard was issued by the home department on May 9.

The two-member commission is headed by retired Calcutta High Court Chief Justice J N Patel and has Sumit Malik, former state chief secretary, as a member.

The panel was set up by the government in February last year to ascertain the sequence of events that led to the violent clashes in Koregaon Bhima on January 1 last year, which left one person dead and several injured.

The violence broke out on a day when lakhs of Dalits had gathered in the area to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The panel also has to identify the causes and persons responsible for the violence and suggest measures to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.

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The commission was initially given four months to complete its inquiry, but its term has been extended multiple times since then.

Nearly 400 people, including members of various Dalit outfits, Hindutva organisations and some NGOs, as well as residents of Koregaon Bhima, Vadhu Budruk and Sanaswadi, have submitted affidavits before the commission. Others who have filed affidavits include victims of the incident from Thane and Mumbai, some of the accused booked over the violence and in the Elgaar Parishad case, and government and police officials.

The panel has been conducting hearings in both Mumbai and Pune and listening to the deposition of witnesses and others connected to the case. “The next hearing will start in the first week of June,” said advocate Aashish Satpute, the commission lawyer.

The commission had also written to various parties and leaders and urged them to submit affidavits with any information they may have about the violence. NCP chief Sharad Pawar is the only prominent leader to have submitted an affidavit before it so far.

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