The Maharashtra government has decided to withdraw cases against accused booked for violence during statewide bandh called in the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January.People whose properties were damaged during the violence will be compensated by the government. The custodial interrogation of right wing activist Milind Ekbote, one of the prime accused in allegedly instigating violence between two communities at Bhima Koregaon will, however, continue. Also readBhima Koregaon Violence: Prime accused Milind Ekbote grilled for three hours by Pune rural policeDalit groups had accused Ekbote and another right wing leader Sambhaji Bhide for instigating violence during bicentenary celebration of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa s army.Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed soldiers from the Mahar community then considered untouchable were part of the East India Company s forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.The violence on the first day of 2018 had claimed one life. Following the incidents, Dalit organisations had called for a Maharashtra bandh, which also witnessed several incidents of stone pelting in several parts of the state, including Mumbai. Following the violence, police registered a case against Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide in connection with the violence.Also readBhima Koregaon Violence: Pune police arrests 3 accused for murder during riotsEarlier this month, a PIL had sought punitive action against Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar and other participants of the bandh.The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO also sought that the state government and those who participated in the bandh be held liable for the loss or damages caused to public and private property. The plea sought that the traders, whose properties were damaged in the sporadic incidents of violence across the state during the bandh on January 3 or those who lost their day’s earnings due to the bandh, be given compensation.The state’s counsel advocate Hiten Venegaonkar opposed the PIL saying the state had already taken appropriate action against those involved in the bandh.Also readBhima Koregaon violence | After Jignesh Mevani and Umar Khalid, Kabir Kala Manch members booked for provocative speechesHe also submitted that there was no statutory provision that entitles the traders or others to seek compensation in the case.(With PTI inputs)

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Bhima Koregaon: Maha govt to withdraw cases against people booked for violence during bandh