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Opposition brands Bhima-Koregaon riots as state-sponsored terrorism

Friday, March 09, 2018
By Prashant Hamine

The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-led opposition has alleged that the Bhima-Koregaon riot was state-sponsored terrorism. Raising a short duration debate in the legislative council yesterday on the incident, Sharad Ranpise (Congress) wanted to know why the government has appointed the state chief secretary to the probe panel that is being headed by a retired  High Court Judge appointed by the government to probe the Bhima-Koregaon incident. He further contended that this was being done to pressurise the probe.

He charged the government of trying to divide communities. Ranpise remarked that a political party with communal ideology was behind the oppression of upper caste of the downtrodden castes. He said that the pulling down of Vladimir Lenin's statue in Tripura was lauded by a secretary of that party.
Ranpise urged the government not to create disharmony amongst the castes pursuing the practice of the divide and rule policy of the British. He wanted to know why the police did nothing to stop the large mob of 500 to 700 people armed with stones, who were charging at the War Memorial.

Ranpise said that the incident was a result of two-and-a-half thousand years of oppression of the downtrodden castes by the upper castes. It is because of that, that the Marathas and Dhangars are demanding reservation quotas. He added that by raking up issues like cow protection, love jihad and ‘ghar wapsi’, the communal harmony was being disturbed. Referring to the commemoration of the 200 years of the Bhima-Koregaon war of  January 1, 1818, in which the British forces defeated the Peshwa army, the senior Congress member wanted to know as to why the senior government ministers visited the venue on December 31, when they knew the commemoration event was the next day.

Taking part in the debate, Jaidev Gaikwad (NCP) alleged that the work on disturbing communal harmony was going on for the last 10- 15 years. He argued that the trouble was fomented by outsiders. Vijay Girkar (BJP) however, argued that because of the government deploying seven companies of police, any untoward incident that could have occurred was averted. Professor Jogendra Kawade (PRP) alleged that the riots were an organised attack on the dalit community.

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