Bhima-Koregaon case: Activists were mobilising Dalits to overthrow govt, says police
Police told the Bombay HC that activists arrested in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence and Maoist links were mobilising Dalits.
Mumbai: Maharashtra Police on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that activists arrested in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence and Maoist links were mobilising Dalits to achieve the motive of the CPI (Maoist) to "overthrow the government".
Pune's assistant commissioner of police Shivaji Pawar said this in an affidavit filed before the court to oppose the bail plea filed by one of the accused, Arun Ferriera. Apart from Ferriera, the police earlier arrested eight other activists, including Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde. Ferriera and Gonsalves later filed bail petitions which came up for hearing on Wednesday before Justice P N Deshmukh, who posted the matter for April 5.
The police are yet to submit the affidavit over Gonsalves's petition. In their affidavit, Pune Police claimed that Ferriera and the other accused were senior members of the banned terrorist organisation, Communist Party of India (Maoist).b
They were "actively supporting and propagating the banned outfit's unlawful activities to overthrow the government established by law", the police said. During investigation, it was revealed that the motive of the CPI (Maoist) was "seizure of political power," the affidavit said further. "With a view to attain this motive, the organisation is waging not the old type of conventional war but a people's war by mobilising public on a massive scale both military and politically," it said.
"The CPI (Maoist) is undertaking special efforts to build the party among Dalit masses. They try to rally Dalit masses extensively by taking up struggles for their self- respect and against discrimination, oppression, degradation and physical attacks by the upper caste feudal forces in order to achieve their motive," the police said in the affidavit. The Elgar Parishad meeting held on December 31, 2017, during which Ferreira and the other accused gave "inflammatory, provocative and rebellious" speeches, saw significant participation of Dalit organisations, they said.
"These Dalit organisations were systematically brought together by some active members of CPI (Maoist), which had also funded this meeting," the affidavit said. The police claimed Ferreira and another accused Vernon Gonsalves were senior cadres of CPI (Maoist) and engaged in recruiting cadres for the banned outfit.
"The intention of Ferreira and other accused persons along with the banned terrorist organisation CPI (Maoist) is to topple the democratically elected governments (Centre and state) by violent means, that is by creating mayhem, spreading terror and hatred," the affidavit said.
"The objective is to assassinate important public functionaries and strike terror in the public," it said. Ferriera and other accused distributed pamphlets and booklets with an intention to incite, abet and promote enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, caste and community, it said.
"They created disharmony and a feeling of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious groups, castes and communities and therefore, disturbed public tranquillity," the affidavit said.
"Net result of the meeting and speeches was riots that erupted at Koregaon-Bhima on January 1, 2018," it said. It was found from certain documents and evidence collected from the accused persons' residences that they were part of a criminal conspiracy and their role was not merely peripheral, but they were found to be playing a vital role in the offences committed, the police said in the affidavit.