Villagers staying in and around Bhima- Koregaon have welcomed the Maharashtra government’s decision to withdraw cases that were registered against residents after the riots broke out on January 1 this year. The villagers, however, demanded that the government should take more efforts in arresting main conspirators behind the riots. Bhima- Koregaon and adjoining villages witnessed violence between two communities on the first day of the year when large number of Dalits were gathered at the historic memorial in the village to commemorate 200th anniversary of a battle. Also readBhima Koregaon: Maha govt to withdraw cases against people booked for violence during bandhDalit leaders commemorate the British victory at Bhima- Koregaon, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community, then considered untouchable, were part of the East India Company’s forces that defeated the Peshwa’s army. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.During the riots, one person lost his life while several had sustained injuries. Police had booked several people including local villagers in connection with the violence.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. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday announced that the state government will be withdrawing the cases which are not of serious nature. The local villagers have welcomed the step of the state government. Praful Shivle, former sarpanch of Vadhu budruk said, “Local villagers have already faced huge losses after their properties were damaged in riots and later police booked local villagers. There are many youngsters who are facing cases against them and because of these cases, their future will be ruined. We welcome state government’s decision of withdrawing of cases.”villagers, however, are demanding strong action against the main conspirators. Rajendra Gaikwad, another villager said, “There is a calm in all the nearby villages after that (riot) incident, but we want main conspirators to be behind bars. It has been nearly three months but the government has not found main conspirators which is a huge failure of the government.”Also readBhima Koregaon Violence: Prime accused Milind Ekbote grilled for three hours by Pune rural policeFollowing the violence, police had registered a case against two right wing activists – Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide – for allegedly instigating violence between two communities at Bhima Koregaon.Dalit groups had accused Ekbote and Bhide of instigating the violence during bicentenary celebration of the Bhima-Koregaon battle.

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Bhima Koregaon Violence: Govt’s decision to withdraw cases welcome move, but conspirators must be jailed, say villagers