Other States

Retired SC judge must probe Amravati violence: Chandrakant Patil

BJP leaders and workers stage a protest against the Nanded-Malegaon-Amravati riots, outside Collector's office at Bandra in Mumbai, Monday, November 22, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The rioting that erupted in Malegaon, Amravati and Nanded earlier this month should be investigated by a retired Supreme Court judge, said BJP Maharashtra unit president Chandrakant Patil, while demanding that the Maharashtra Government drop all charges against BJP activists arrested in connection with the violence of November 12-13.

Speaking in Kolhapur, Mr. Patil reiterated the BJP’s call for a ban on the Mumbai-based Raza Academy, claiming the minority outfit’s call for a shutdown on November 12 had allegedly led to the violence and vandalism across different parts of the State.

“The riots in Malegaon, Amravati and Nanded should be investigated by a retired Supreme Court judge, and the masterminds of the riots and their supporters should be arrested. The State Government must ban the Raza Academy and stop slapping cases on those citizens who took to the streets protesting in self-defense,” said the BJP State unit chief.

Mr. Patil, an MLA from Pune’s Kothrud Assembly constituency, alleged that the ruling tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress) Government must stop its biased actions against BJP leaders and activists and withdraw the charges against them.

“We are not only making these demands as a responsible political Opposition but also in the context of a serious matter of law-and-order situation that prevails in Maharashtra today,” he said.

Accusing the MVA Government of misusing the State’s police machinery to intimidate and repress the Opposition, Mr. Patil claimed there was widespread chaos in Maharashtra and that the Thackeray Government was allegedly ‘sheltering’ the true instigators of the riots.

“This government is clearly playing vote-bank politics…No riots took place during Prime Minister Modi’s regime at the Centre between 2014 to 2019 and in the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP Government in the State during the same period,” the BJP State president said.

Notwithstanding Mr. Patil’s claims, the Bhima-Koregaon clashes of January 1, 2018, in Pune district had occurred on Mr. Fadnavis’ watch.

The violent clashes between two groups had left one person dead while the homes and businesses of several Ambedkarite families were destroyed and social tensions throughout the State had been considerably aggravated.

On November 12 this month, violence erupted in at least three cities in the State — Amravati, Malegaon (in Nashik district) and Nanded — after some minority organisations, including the Raza Academy, called for a day-long shutdown to protest against incidents of mosques being allegedly vandalised in Tripura in northeast India.

A “counter bandh” was called by the BJP in Amravati as a challenge to the one called by minority groups on November 13. According to authorities, hundreds of people from the Bajrang Dal and other Sangh-affiliated outfits, holding saffron flags in their hands and raising slogans, had come out on the streets, which resulted in violence and serious damage to property of members from the minority community.

Several BJP leaders, including ex-Ministers Anil Bonde and Pravin Pote, along with the Aurangabad Mayor, were briefly arrested last week for having organised the shutdown on November 13 that was marked by violence.

However, the BJP led by Mr. Fadnavis has defended the ‘counter-bandh’ of November 13, claiming BJP and other Sangh affiliates could not sit quiet when it saw shops belonging to people of one community being targeted and members of the community being allegedly assaulted on November 12.

It further charged the MVA of only highlighting events of the BJP’s counter-shutdown while ignoring what caused the reaction in the first place.

The ruling MVA leadership including Amravati Guardian Minister and Congress leader Yashomati Thakur has refuted the BJP’s claims of the State Government conducting a ‘biased’ probe.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 7:29:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/retired-sc-judge-must-probe-amravati-violence-chandrakant-patil/article37658414.ece

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