PUNE: An FIR was registered on Wednesday night against Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and student leader from JNU Umar Khalid for their alleged provocative speeches at Elgaar Parishad held at Shaniwarwada on December 31. There was violence on January 1 at Koregaon Bhima when lakhs of people had gathered to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle there. One person died, several others sustained injuries besides over 250 vehicles were damaged when two groups of people clashed.
The FIR was registered based on complaint submitted by two youths Akshay Bikkad (22) and Anand Dhond (25), who claimed not to be affiliated with any organisation. The two had demanded registration of criminal case against Mewani and Khalid for promoting enmity between different groups through their speeches. They had filed the complaint with Deccan Gymkhana police station, but it was forwarded to Vishrambag police station, under whose jurisdiction the Elgaar Parishad was held.
Senior inspector Appasaheb Shevale said that the FIR was registered late in night on Wednesday and that Mewani and Khalid were booked for offences under section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) and 117 (Abetting commission of offence by the public) of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR lists out several statements made by the two at the conference.
Earlier police had claimed that all the leaders at Elgaar Parishad had abided by the undertaking that they will not use offensive languages or incite people. Police had done video shooting of the whole event but did not file any case.
The FIR was registered only after complaints from the two youths.
The Elgaar Parishad was held in Pune to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Koregaon Bhima, a place in present day Pune district, which was fought between the then British Indian Army and the Peshwas. Besides Mewani and Khalid, Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, Tribal activist Soni Sori, and Bhim Army’s Vinay Ratan Singh were among others who attended the conference.