The Pune city police have filed a criminal case against newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid for allegedly promoting enmity between two groups by delivering allegedly provocative speeches at the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ held at Shaniwarwada Fort in the city on December 31.
The 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 FIR quotes the allegedly controversial fragments of speeches made by Mevani and Khalid.
Following are speeches of Mevani, Khalid
Mr. Mevani is quoted as having said: “Nav Peshwai ke saamne agar humein jeetna hain, Bhima Koregaon ke iss ladai ko aage leke jaana hain, uss sangharsh ko aage le jaana hain, us sangharsh se agar prerit hona hain, ye chunavi raajneeti se nahin hoga. Main maanta hoon ki, janata ki ladai ladne wale kuch log, Gujarat ki aur Maharashtra ki assembly mein hone chahiye. Iss desh ke parliament mein bhi hone chahiye. Lekin jaatir nirmoolan toh sadakonki ladai se hoga. Ek varga ka dusre varga pe, jo shasan hain, woh sadakon ki ladai se khatam hoga. [If we have to win against the ‘new Peshwas’, we will have to take forward the battle of Bhima Koregaon, take forward that struggle, and take inspiration from it. This cannot happen through electoral politics. I understand that some of the people who fight for the common masses should be in the Assemblies of Gujarat or Maharashtra, and in Parliament of this country. But annihilation of caste differences would happen only through street fights. The rule of one section of the people over others would end through street fights].” Mr. Khalid is quoted as having said, “Bhima Koregaon ki is ladai ko aanewala kal bana sakte hain. Unhone hamla kiya, palatwar ki baari hain. Ladai ko ladenge aur ye ladai jeetna hi, un shahidon ko shraddhanjali rahegi. Aur Nav Peshwai ka khatma hi Bhima Koregaon ke shahidon ko shraddhanjali rahegi. [We can make this battle of Bhima Koregaon our future. They had attacked us, now it is time for retaliation. We will fight and we have to win this battle. This [our future victory] will be a tribute to those martyrs. The end of the neo- Peshwas will be a tribute to martyrs of Koregaon).” The police said they were analysing these speeches.
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.
Clashes on January 1
The next day, 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 25 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.