The ‘conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister’ and ‘Urban Naxal’, both these issues were included in the discussions around the country last week. The discussion started when the Pune police raided several cities across the country together on the morning of 28 August and detained several social / human rights activists, journalists and lawyers. The Pune Police has alleged that all these people are associated with banned Maoist organizations and are part of their urban network. It is also alleged by the police that these people work to incite people to overthrow the government of the country.
The Pune Police has taken this action during the investigation into the violence in Bhima Koregaon this year. On January 1, one person was killed and property worth crores was damaged in the Bhima Koregaon area of Pune. The violence was sparked by tensions between Dalits and local Maratha communities. After this incident of violence, around 75 FIRs were registered in different police stations of Maharashtra. In an FIR, allegations of inciting violence were leveled against Hindutva organizations and in some cases against Dalits.
Who Were Accused?
One of these 75 FIRs was the most discrete. In this, neither Dalits nor Hindu organizations were directly accused of inciting violence. This FIR says that there was a conspiracy of Maoists behind the violence in Bhima Koregaon. This FIR was registered eight days after the incident. Based on this, when the newslaundry started investigating the person who filed this FIR, we were confronted with shocking incidents and information one after the other. Here we will briefly mention the flaws associated with that FIR, the circumstances of its registration and the political aspirations of the lodger.
The name of the person who lodged the FIR is Tushar Damgude. Tusshar is a businessman based in Pune. They believe that they had filed the FIR on January 8, in which the Maoists were expected to be involved. Surprisingly, Tushar was continuously active on his social media between January 1 and January 8, ie from the time of the incident to the registration of the FIR. He was continuously writing about this incident on Facebook, but he did not mention the Maoists’ involvement in Bhima Koregaon violence even once during this whole week. During this time, he was repeatedly writing and telling about the possible causes of this violence.
The entire case changed after Tusshar’s same FIR was registered on January 8. The Pune Police, bypassing all other complaints, focused its attention on this FIR of Tushar. As a result, the issue of violence in Bhima Koregaon became secondary while issues like ‘urban naxalites’ and ‘conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister’ came up. In order to understand this dramatic change in the investigation of Bhima Koregaon violence, it is necessary to understand the whole sequence in a sequential manner.
A village named Koregaon Bhima, located in Pune district of Maharashtra, is famous for the battle between the British East India Company and the Maratha army led by the Peshwas on January 1, 1818. In this battle, the Marathas were defeated by the soldiers of the Dalit Mahar caste, fighting on behalf of the East India Company. Mahars are considered untouchables in Maharashtra. Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar belonged to this caste. Since the Peshwas were Brahmins, this battle is also seen as the victory of the Mahars over the Brahmins.
For years, Dalits from across Maharashtra gather in Bhima Koregaon to celebrate this victory. This year, two hundred years of this battle were completed. Therefore, around 250 different organizations organized a ‘Yalgar Parishad’ on 31 December 2017. Thousands of people participated in this event held in Shaniwarwada, Pune. The very next day, on January 1, lakhs of Dalits had gathered near the Bhima Koregaon War Memorial, where shortly after stone pelting started and violence erupted.
Dalits allege that stone pelting was started by Hindutva organizations. They say that such organizations were inciting people against Dalits for the last several days. On the very next day of the incident, almost the same things about violence were revealed in all newspapers. After this, several FIRs related to this incident were filed in different police stations of Pune. On January 3, the Pune police registered a case against Milind Ekbote, head of ‘Hindu Ekta Manch’ and Sambhaji Bhide, head of ‘Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan’, for inciting violence.
On the other hand, along with local Dalit leaders, a case was registered against Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and student leader Omar Khalid for inciting violence. The case against Jignesh Mevani and Omar Khalid was filed by Akshay Bikkad and Anand Dhond, who were associated with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Pune police was investigating all these cases that on January 8, Tushar Damgude lodged a new FIR at Pune, Vishrambagh police station. It was from here that for the first time in this case a ‘conspiracy of Maoists’ came to light.
In the FIR lodged by Tushar, he said, “I came to know about the Yalgar Parishad held on December 31 through Facebook, after which I reached there.” He further stated in his FIR, “Sagar Gorkhe, Sudhir Dhawale, Jyoti Jagtap, Jignesh Mevani, Umar Khalid and others were present on the dais.” In his complaint, accusing Sudhir Dhawale, Tushar said that he could provoke Yalgar Parishad He was giving a speech saying, “When there is a persecution, there should be a rebellion in the city, and if there is no rebellion, it is better that before the night is over,
Everyone burnt to ashes. This is a declaration of war. We have to bury this new Peshwai in the cemetery, in the cemetery. ”
In his complaint, Tushar said that many activists associated with the Kabir Kala Manch were also present in the Yalgar Parishad and apart from making inflammatory speeches, they were distributing the literature that provoked people. He further stated in the FIR, “Many people present here may have contact with the banned organization CPI (Maoist). The objective of these people is to seduce the Dalits and make them of Maoist ideology and then promote enmity in the society by taking the path of violence. These people had to provoke the general public.
Taking action on the same FIR of Tushar Damgude, the Pune Police has so far arrested around ten people from across the country and raided the houses and offices of many others. But there are many reasons why many questions arise on this FIR of Tusshar Damgude. The first reason is that the things said in this FIR are completely different from what Tushar Damgude had said on the very next day of this incident.
Tusshar is very active on Facebook and around 16,000 people follow him here. He himself says that he actively writes on Facebook on many social and political issues and his writing is the reason for his popularity. Tushar has also been writing from time to time on the issue of Bhima Koregaon. Not only after the violence, but before the violence on January 1, he was continuously writing on this issue. Sometimes they were questioning the victory of the Dalits in the battle of Bhima Koregaon, and sometimes on the people coming to join the Yalgar Parishad.
He also wrote about Omar Khalid in December 2017 that Omar Khalid is coming here to talk about Dalits but when he comes here, you must ask him where the Dalits of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir went. The Facebook wall of Tushar Damguda is full of articles with vilification and objectionable words towards left-thinking people.
Article written on facebook on 2 January
He also wrote in detail about the violence on January 1 on Facebook. Surprisingly, nothing was written in his article as he later wrote in his FIR. On January 2, Tusshar wrote about the incident, “What did not happen in Maharashtra for the last 60 years happened yesterday.” The reason for this is that in the last few years many historians have been born in Maharashtra who are making new claims every day. Taking these claims to be true, some people get on the way. ”
He further wrote, “Marathas are very aggressive and also emotional. He has killed hundreds of people for his honor and it has been recorded in history. Teasing them means playing with fire. ”
Tushar also wrote in this article that, “These historians who created unrest in the past have coined the stories that after the death of Sambhaji Maharaj, Marathas did not even come to perform their last rites and remain hidden in their homes of fear. Such claims were spread on social media. It was clear that Maratha society would not tolerate these claims and these would only lead to controversy. ”
Tushar further writes, “The two groups met face to face in Koregaon. Blue flags and saffron flags were waved, announcements were made, abuses and scuffles started. Everyone knows what happened after that. Me and some of my friends were at that place all day long. We saw everything from who said what, who did what. ”
There was no mention of Maoists or the conspiracy of Yalgar Parishad behind this violence anywhere in this article of Tushar. Rather, this article used to say almost the same things which had also appeared in all other reports. In several reports related to the violence of January 1, it was revealed that many objectionable posters and banners were installed in Bhima Koregaon in the last days of December. In these banners, many such things related to the battle of Bhima Koregaon and the murder of Sambhaji Maharaj were written which made the atmosphere there tense and on January 1, the possibility of violence was started.
Article written on facebook on 5 January
On January 5, Tusshar wrote another article on Facebook. He wrote this article while sharing the copy of the FIR filed against Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid. In it, he wrote, ‘My young friend Akshay Bikkad has done the courageous task of registering an FIR against Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid in the case of inciting violence yesterday.’ Even after seeing and appreciating this FIR, Tushar did not think that he himself had to register an FIR in this case or whether he had allegedly seen something else in the Yalgar Parishad on 31 December.
Talking to Newslaundry, Tushar says, “On 31 December, the Yalgar Parishad takes place. In this, some people say that if there is no rebellion, the city should be burnt to ashes before nightfall. And the very next day the city burns to ashes. In this case, why not consider that the people involved in the Yalgar Parishad have burnt the city. ”
On this, we asked Tushar that if this is the case, why did he not register an FIR immediately after the violence or even after two-three-four days? Tushar says, “I was talking to my relatives about this.”