June 17, 2018
The Pune Police’s spiel in court on the threats from ‘urban Maoism’ with regard to the Bhima Koregaon violence is only aimed at creating prejudice and stoking passions, alleged experts in criminal law.
They said the police’s startling claims and the rapidly shifting narrative — from inflammatory speeches at Elgaar Parishad in Pune the day before the violence, to a letter hinting at a plot to assassinate the PM, to a recruitment drive at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) under the garb of a lecture series — have no mention in either the FIR that set the case in motion or the two applications for remand of alleged top urban Maoist operatives Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Surendra Gadling, who were arrested in a multicity operation on June 6.
Mum on allegations
As per the FIR registered on January 8, members of cultural group Kabir Kala Manch — Sudhir Dhawale, Sagar Gorkhe, Jyoti Jagtap, Harshali Potdar, Ramesh Gaichor and at least six others —made speeches, sung songs, recited couplets and performed street plays at Elgaar Parishad that were divisive and inflammatory in nature, and which incited the violent clashes that broke out the next day.
By the time the police arrested Dhawale, Wilson, Gadling, Sen and Raut, the narrative had begun to shift. They alleged that these five had set up an “urban front” for the banned CPI (Maoist) and made attempts through it to engage in anti-national activities.
The following day, the plot took on more menacing tones. While seeking police custody of these five, district government pleader Ujjwala Pawar told a Pune court that an incriminating letter had been recovered from the electronic devices seized from the accused.