A day after Union Minister Hansraj Ahir said that urban naxals were behind the Bhima Koregaon violence, five persons have been arrested on the ground that they were behind the meeting where speeches were made to incite violence.
The arrest of the five persons comes six months after the violence that erupted over the bicentennial celebration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon near Pune. Among those arrested are an activist, editor, lawyer, a professor and a former PMRD fellow.
Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale are among those the police arrested.
Shoma Sen who is a professor of English at the Nagpur university has been under the scanner of the security agencies for her alleged links with naxals. Her husband, Tushakranthi Bhattacharya was arrested in 2010 in a case relating to naxalites and later released on bail. The police say Shoma was present for the Elgaar Parishad in Pune.
Mahesh Raut who was a PMRD fellow in 2014 is the alleged link between naxals in the jungles and the urban areas. It may be recalled that he was detained by the police in 2014 after two naxalites said that the he was supposed to meet senior Maoist leaders in the jungles. He was released after questioning.
Sudhir Dhawale, the editor of Vidrohi Dhawale had founded the Republican Panthers Jatiantachi Chawal for creating a common political platform for Dalits. He was arrested on sedition charges in 2011 for his alleged links with naxals. He was however acquitted in 2014. The police say that he was one of the organisers of the Elgaar Parishad in Pune.
Surendra Gadling is a lawyer and the general secretary of the Indian Association of Peoples' Lawyers. He has been providing legal aid to the arrested naxalites, which included G N Saibaba.
Rona Wilson from Kerala is the public relations secretary of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners. He is alleged to be a close aid of Saibaba who was arrested and sentenced to life in March last year. The police say he was the link between the naxals in the urban areas and the jungles.
The police had always maintained that it was the naxals especially those from the urban areas who were behind the violence. The violence was incited with a view of defaming the Maharashtra and Central government. The police had retrieved a host of documents which suggest that the naxals through their fronts and organised the agitation and fanned the violence. During the meetings ahead of the violence they had even coined a phrase called as Neo-Peshwai which meant oppressed rule under the Peshwas.
There were several meetings in the run up to the incident, a police official informed OneIndia. The manner in which the violence was staged was a clear indicator that the naxals through their fronts had infiltrated into the cities and fanned the violence. They also made attempts to wage a war against the ideology of the RSS, the officer also noted.
During their meetings they constantly made efforts to instigate the violence. In December itself they kept raking up an issue in which a Dalit family was wiped out in Kairalanji. The police also said that they kept instigating the Dalits to resort to violence. They even raised the slogan, 'Sabak diya hai Bhima-Koregaon ne, nai Peshwai dafna do kabrastan me.' (Bhima-Koregaon taught us a lesson, bury the Neo-Peshwa rule)