FIR Against Kabir Kala Manch Members, Others for 'Promoting Enmity' At Bhima Koregaon Event

The FIR alleged that songs, talks and street plays presented at the Elgar Parishad were inflammatory and incited communal differences.

Pune: Organisers of Elgar Parishad, including members of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), were booked on Monday night for allegedly promoting enmity between various groups at the December 31 event held at Shaniwar Wada to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon in Pune.

The organisers of the event, however, said that the government is trying to divert attention by allowing such FIRs instead of taking action against those who created violence on January 1 at Bhima Koregaon.

The complaint was lodged by a 37-year-old businessman from Pune, Tushar Ramesh Damgude, at the Vishrambaug police station.

Amrut Marathe, police inspector, Vishrambaug, said, “As per the FIR, Sudhir Dhawale, anchor of the programme, Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaychor, Harshali Potdar and many others sang songs and gave talks that incited violence. They allegedly said that the fight against the new Peshwai has begun and they need to fight”.

The FIR alleged that songs, talks and street plays presented by organisers at the Elgar Parishad were inflammatory and incited communal differences. It claims that the book stalls at the event had literature that was also inflammatory in nature.

Protests against the violence at the Bhima Koregaon event in Pune. Credit: PTI

In the FIR, the complainant said that members of the KKM were already arrested for their links with the Communist Party of India (Maoist) whose strategy is to incite Dalits to take the violent route instead of constitutional one. According to the FIR, the KKM members presented inflammatory songs and talks which led to people taking to stone pelting and torching vehicles on January 1.

Also read: Post Bhima Koregaon Violence, Police Target Dalits Across Maharashtra; Minor Boys Worst Hit

“We have registered a case against them under IPC Section 153(A) for creating hatred, Section 505 for using literature to incite people to act against other communities, Section 117 for abetting commission of offence, and Section 34 for working in a group,” said inspector Marathe.

A member of the KKM pointed at the working pattern of right-wing organisations. “An unknown person who does not have any allegiance with any right-wing organisations lodged an FIR. The same happened in the case of Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid,” he said.

Dhawale, one of the accused in the FIR and a member of Republican Panther, said, “We all know that people from right-wing organisations attacked Dalits who had gathered to commemorate the battle in which the British army, comprising mostly Dalits, defeated the Peshwas. The government is not taking any action against them and trying to divert attention by allowing people to lodge FIR against us.”

Jagtap of the KKM said, “We are deciding on what course of action should be taken and will inform people about that soon”.

Note: In an earlier version of this story the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was incorrectly referred to as the Communist Party of India (Marxist)