Pune: Senior police officials said that the Pune rural police failed to gather intelligence about stones being stored in large numbers. Also an FIR for alleged desecration at the memorial of Govind Mahar should have been avoided for a few days in the backdrop of 200th anniversary of the Koregaon-Bhima battle between British and Peshwa armies.
Sources said that though Superintendent of Police (Pune rural) Suvez Haque had been interacting with officers who had done bandobast duty at Vijaystambh, his team failed to asses the situation in Koregaon-Bhima. After alleged desecration, an FIR was registered against 49 persons including the sarpanch of the village for offences under relevant sections of the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act.
Officials citing guidelines of the Supreme Court which state that cops can conduct inquiry in about 15 days before registering the FIR, said that Pune rural police should not have done it in a hurry and gone ahead with mediation between the two groups on December 29. After the FIR, the Koregaon Bhima Gram Panchayat passed a resolution calling for bandh on January 1 when lakhs of people were to gather at Vijaystambh.
A senior police officer told Sakal Times, “On January 1, the opposite group was allowed to take out a rally from Vadhu Budruk to Koregaon Bhima and they clashed with people who had come to Vijaystambh. The former group should not have been allowed as it was apparent that there will be law and order problem when both groups come face to face raising slogans.”
Another officer who has served with rural police in Koregaon-Bhima said, “There was huge intelligence failure on part of the local police station staffers and special branch staffers who could not detect storing of stones in huge quantity. The stones had been ferried from outside.”
A senior officer from DGP office added, “We should appreciate that the police managed to contain the violence between Koregaon-Bhima and Shikrapur, and didn’t allow it to spread on the other side of the Bhima river, where the Vijaystambh is located. But certainly there was intelligence failure there.”
Cops search for missing persons, unidentified bodies
After the Koregaon-Bhima riots, Pune rural police officials are contacting neighbouring police stations to find out if anybody has gone missing. Also unidentified bodies found in the last 2-3 days, are also being verified. The police said they are yet to ascertain how many people got injured in the riots.