Bhima Koregaon Commission summons Param Bir Singh and Rashmi Shukla

File photo of IPS officers Param Bir Singh and Rashmi Shukla.  

The Bhima Koregaon Commission on Friday issued summons to IPS officers Param Bir Singh and Rashmi Shukla to appear as witnesses in the caste-based violence that occurred on January 1, 2018 in Pune.

The Commission is a judicial inquiry which was appointed in February 2018 after the violence that broke out when Dalits were attacked when they were observing the 200th anniversary of the battle that the British won with the help of Dalits and defeated Peshwas.

Also read: Bhima Koregaon accused languishing in jail for 3 years

The Commission headed by JN Patel, retired chief of Kolkata High Court and Sumit Mullick, former Maharashtra Chief Secretary on Friday issued summons to Mr Singh who was the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) in 2018 and Ms Shukla was the Commissioner of Pune police.

They are expected to respond to the summons by November 8, 2021. So far, several extensions have been given to the Commission and over 35 witnesses have deposed before it. “However, the evidence is still evolving and several State and Police officials are expected to depose as witnesses soon,” Commission’s lawyer Aashish Satpute told The Hindu.

Also read: Release Bhima Koregaon activists: U.N. human rights body

The Commission has so far received nearly 500 affidavits — from victims, Dalit outfits, NGOs, right-wing groups, government and police officials — across Pune, Mumbai and Thane.

On January 1, 1818, a battle was fought between British Army and Peshwas and they were forcibly removed. To honour their gallantry, a monument was built called ‘Vijay Stambh’. On January 1, 1927, Dr BR Ambedkar visited the site and started an annual tradition to celebrate the occasion. On December 31, 2017, a public meeting was organised called ‘Elgar Parishad’ and the next day a large number of Dalits and Bahujans gathered and were attacked by a mob which resulted in the death of a Maratha youth.

On January 2, 2018, Anita Sawale filed a FIR against Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide and subsequently 22 FIRs were registered in the case. Most of them are under investigation. Subsequently, Pune police conducted a crackdown and arrested activists Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson, Varvara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu, late Father Stan Swamy, Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Gorkhe and Jyoti Jagtap.

While Mr Bhide and Ekbote are granted bail the others continue to be incarcerated in jails.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:37:44 PM |

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