Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday said his government will not transfer the Bhima Koregaon case to the Centre, even though it had approved the transfer of the Elgaar Parishad case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“Elgaar Parishad and Bhima Koregaon are two different issues. The issue of Dalits is related to Bhima Koregaon. I have not handed over its investigation to the Centre and will not give it. I want to make it clear that there will be no injustice to Dalits,” the Chief Minister said.
The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgaar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the Pune Police had claimed, triggered violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. The police have claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.
Last week, a Pune court had ordered transfer of the Elgaar Parishad case records to a special NIA court in Mumbai after the state government gave its nod in a letter dated February 12, 2020. Last month, the Centre had transferred the probe into the case from the Pune Police to the NIA, a move then criticised by the Shiv Sena’s alliance partners, the NCP and Congress.
Criticising the move, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had said: “It was not right for the Centre to hand over the investigation into the case to the NIA. But it was even more wrong for the state government to support the transfer of the case.”
Weighing in on the issue, Mallikarjun Kharge, AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra told news agency ANI that, “This is not fair, we are partners and such things should be discussed. You (Uddhav Thackeray) may have power but one should use it judiciously. Our ministers are there, they’ll fight.”
Addressing the media in Sindhudurg district, Thackeray also said the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are two different issues and that his government will not allow NRC to be implemented. Adding that nobody should fear CAA, Thackeray also said that he will personally check the columns in the National Population Register (NPR) and that there shouldn’t be any problem with the exercise.
“CAA and NRC are different issues. NPR is the third issue. Nobody should fear about the CAA. NRC hasn’t come and will not come. If NRC is implemented, it will create problems not only for Muslims but for Hindus, Dalits, tribals and others. Centre has not made any statement on NRC. NPR is a census and I will go through columns given in the form. I don’t think there will be any problem with it. The census is carried out every ten years,” he said.
The Shiv Sena had supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha but walked out during voting in the Rajya Sabha. Before this, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said people in Maharashtra need not be scared of the CAA, NPR and NRC, as the government was with them. Patriotism, he said, has no religion and should not be labelled on the basis of it.
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