India: Bhima Koregaon violence: Shifting narrative and fading public memory as 2019 approaches

June 27, 2018

On June 6, many of us who knew one or few of the five people arrested, supposedly in connection with the ‘violence’ at Bhima Koregaon, woke up with hasty messages of unexpectedarrests. I received a message that Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale was ‘picked up’ and had been taken to the Govandi police station in Mumbai. A huge crowd gathered outside the police station demanding to know the reasons for his arrest. But for Dhawale, who has been a face of some of the massive protests in Maharashtra in recent times and has similarly been implicatedin false cases earlier, arrests were not so unexpected.Amid protests from the crowd, the Govandi police took Dhawale to Pune from the backdoor.

As the day unfolded the shock meter rose manifold as unexpected and unwarranted arrests followed. While a reputed lawyer Advocate SurendraGadling was almost simultaneously being arrested from his Nagpur residence, one came to know that some Rona Jacob Wilson from Delhi and one Mahesh Raut working in Gadhchiroli had also been arrested. Raids were conducted at ex-Nagpur University Professor Shoma Sen’s house and she too was arrested.

All had been accused of one crime- inciting violence at BhimaKoregaon.

I watched in horror and shock as all these arrests were taking place, as both, an eye-witness of January 1 events at BhimaKoregaon memorial and as someone who broke the news and followed it through the months.

Troubled months after BhimaKoregaon

When Dalits were attacked at BhimaKoregaon, on an occasion meant to be a celebration- the bi-centenary of the battle of BhimaKoregaon – anger spilt out on streets of Maharashtra taking the form of a spontaneous, people’s protests. (CHINESE)


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