On Tuesday, the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case was back in the public eye as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested three members of Kabir Kala Manch -- a frontal organization of banned terrorist organization CPI (Maoist).
What is the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case?
The case pertains to a rally held at the end of 2017 by the Elgar Parishad. It is believed that the group gave provocative speeches and more, prompting enmity between various caste groups and leading to violence that resulted in loss of life and property and a statewide agitation in Maharashtra.
The violent attack at the beginning of 2018 took place during an annual gathering at Bhima Koregaon to celebrate the victory of Dalits against upper caste Maratha leaders in 1818 and saw several vehicles torched and one person killed. This in turn had triggered a large scale dalit agitation in Maharashtra.
When was the case filed?
The case was filed in the Vishram Baug Police Station in Pune on April 4, 2018 regarding incitement of people and giving provocative speeches during the Elgar Parishad organized at Shaniwarwada, Pune by the activists of Kabir Kala Manch on December 31, 2017. The NIA took over the case earlier this year.
Who are the people who have been arrested so far?
Months after the violence, in June 2018, the police had arrested five individuals, including activists and teachers. While Sudhir Dhawale was a member of the Republican Panther and Mahesh Raut was a former Prime Minister rural development fellow, Soma Sen was a retired professor from Nagpur University. Surendra Gadling was a prominent lawyer while Rona Jacob Wilson was an activist.
The next set of events saw several other activists be searched with five being arrested in August 2018. Following raids by the Pune Police, poet Varavara Rao and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj were arrested along with several other activists. These were Arun Fereira, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves.
The most recent arrests, on September 7 and 8 were of three Kabir Kala Manch members. Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, 32, and Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, 36, were arrested on Monday while Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, 33, was arrested on Tuesday, an NIA spokesperson said. All three are believed to be part of the outlawed CPI(Maoist)'s frontal organisation. The arrested persons were in contact with absconding accused Milind Teltumbde about the urban network of the CPI (Maoist), said the NIA.
Earlier this year, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha were arrested on April 14, while Hanybabu Musaliyavirtil Tarayil was arrested on July 28.
(With inputs from agencies)