The Pune city police have lodged a criminal case against newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid under charges of promoting enmity between two groups by delivering allegedly provocative speeches at the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ held at Shaniwarwada Fort on December 31.
An FIR was registered against Mr. Mevani and Mr. Khalid under sections 153 (a) [Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race etc], 505 (making statements conducive to public mischief, creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) and 117 (Abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than ten persons) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Vishrambaug Wada police station late on Wednesday night.
The case was lodged based on a complaint filed at the Deccan Gymkhana police station on January 2 by two youths Akshay Bikkad (22) and Anand Dhond (25), who disclaimed affiliation with any social outfit or political organisation.
The police said they were analysing the speeches made by both Mr. Khalid and Mr. Mevani.
Mr. Mevani, Mr. Khalid, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar and Radhika Vemula were among the speakers at the Parishad, held to commemorate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which 500 soldiers of the Mahar community fought alongside the English to defeat the forces of Peshwa Bajirao II.
On January 1, violent clashes between two groups marred the bicentenary celebrations of the battle at Koregaon Bhima village, resulting in the death of Rahul Phatangale of Sanaswadi village.
The Pune Rural police have arrested two persons in connection with the death, while the Shikrapur police have lodged eight cases of rioting and murder.
The names of radical Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote (60), who heads the fringe rightwing outfit ‘Samasta Hindu Aghadi’, and 85-year-old Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’, who heads the ‘Shiv Pratisthan’, have surfaced for allegedly orchestrating the violence. A criminal against the duo was lodged at the Pimpri police station on Tuesday.