State to withdraw cases against those booked in Bhima Koregaon violence

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to withdraw cases against those booked across the state, including Mumbai, following the Bhima Koregaon violence in January, as well as to compensate for the losses incurred during the incidents.

The government will set up a police committee to investigate the serious cases; the government will also compensate the people whose properties were damaged during the violence.

On January 1, clashes broke out near Pune during celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Violence erupted after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars heading towards Bhima Koregaon for the commemoration on New Year’s Day. Dalit leaders and workers at the village alleged that Hindutva activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide had instigated the violence. On January 2, Dalit groups protested in Mumbai. The unrest led to the death of a youth.

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community then considered untouchable were part of the East India Company’s forces. This led to widespread Dalit protests across the state for two days.