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Urban naxals: How Dalits were mobilised, misled to destroy democracy

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Pune, Nov 16: The police filed its chargesheet in the much hyped Elgar Parishad case also known as the case invoicing urban naxalites. The chargesheet which runs into 5,160 pages speaks about many of the activities ranging from triggering unrest to a plot that involved the assassination of the Prime Minister of India.

Urban naxals: How Dalits were mobilised, mislead to destroy democracy

The chargesheet was filed in the special UAPA court against ten persons, including the 5 activists who were arrested on June 6 for organising the Elgar Parishad. Five underground naxalites belonging to the banned CPI (Maoists) were also charged for conspiracy to assassinate the PM and overthrow the constitutionally elected government.

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The five persons chargesheeted are Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut. All these persons are currently lodged in the Yerawada jail in Pune.

The police have alleged that the naxalites supported and funded the Elgar Parishad in Pune on December 31 2017. This was part of a larger conspiracy to create social unrest and overthrow the government, the chargesheet stated. It was the provocative and inflammatory speeches at the Parishad which caused the caste clashes at Koregaon Bhima on January 1, the police stated.

The chargesheet also names five Maoist leaders believed to be underground: Dipak alias Milind Teltumbade, Kishan Da alias Prashant Bose, Prakash alias Rituparn Goswami, Deepu and Manglu.

The larger conspiracy of CPI (Maoists) was to overthrow the democratic system in the country, and the accused were working in that direction, the charge sheet claimed.

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The Elgar Parishad had been organised with "inspiration, money and directions" of Maoists, it alleged.

"It is the policy of the CPI (Maoists)... to mobilise Dalit community's sentiments and mislead them and provoke them to take violent path against the system," it said.

"As a part of this strategy, Sudhir Dhavale and other members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM, a cultural group) spread hatred by giving inciting speeches, presenting distorted history and staging provocative skits and songs," it said.

On the directions of CPI (Maoists) Dhavale and KKM, under the banner of Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerana Abhiyan, galvanised Dalit organisations and organised Elgar Parishad on December 31, the charge sheet said.

"During the conclave, inciting speeches were made, inflammatory songs and street plays were played...all these things aggravated the violence on January 1, 2018 at Bhima Koregaon (in Pune district) during 200th commemoration of Bhima Koregaon battle," it said.

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Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar, the investigating officer, said Pune Police recorded the statement of surrendered Maoist leader Pahad Singh.

"Singh gave details of Milind Teltumbade's role. He revealed that Teltumbade has the responsibility of spreading Maoist network in urban areas and he is particularly involved in mobilizing the Dalit community for Maoist activities," he said.

Singh's statement is part of the charge sheet.

Vishrambaug police here had initially registered a case on the complaint of Tushar Damgude who alleged that "provocative" speeches at Elgar Parishad led to violence at Bhima Koregaon in which one person was killed.

In August, Pune Police arrested rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj, Telugu poet Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha in the case. The charge sheet does not name them.

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Dalits at a commemoration event of the Bhima Koregon battle -- in which the forces of the Peshwa, ruler of Pune, were defeated by the British East India Company -- came under attack on January 1.

While Dalits see the victory as an assertion of their identity as the British forces included Mahar (a formerly untouchable caste) soldiers, some Hindu right-wing organisations were opposed to the celebration.

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