MUMBAI: Police have registered an FIR against Gujarat Dalit leader and MLA Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid for allegedly inciting passions between communities, an official said on Thursday.
The FIR was lodged late on Wednesday following a complaint by a 22-year-old student, Akshay G Bikkad, of Pune who took objections to the speeches by Mevani and Khalid at Shaniwarwada on December 31. They have been sent notice under section 149 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ).
In his complaint, Bikkad said that at a ‘Yalgar Parishad’ held that day, the two speakers made inflammatory speeches that could create misunderstanding between communities.
The complainant added excerpts from the speech by Mevani: “The (January 1, 1881) battle of Koregaon-Bhima can be a war of tomorrow. If they attack, it is time to retaliate, and winning this war will be a tribute to the martyrs. Crushing the new ‘Peshwai’ can be a homage to the heroes of the Koregaon-Bhima battle.”
The alleged excerpt from Khalid’s speech: “If we want to win this war against the new ‘Peshwai’, we must carry forward the battle of Koregaon-Bhima. If we want to carry ahead the struggle, it cannot be achieved merely by electoral politics.”
“I believe that people who fight for the public causes must find a place in the legislatures in Gujarat and Maharashtra, and also in Parliament. However, caste system can be uprooted only by taking the fight to the streets. The dominance of one caste over the other can only be destroyed by battling it out on the streets,” Khalid allegedly said.
The complainant said that such inflammatory speeches can create a wedge and enmity between communities and that provoked by these utterances some unknown miscreants attacked the Victory Pillar (Vijay Stambh) in Koregaon-Bhima, resulting in riots and arson on January 1.
Hours after the FIR by Pune police, the Mumbai Police denied permission for a Chhatra Bharati-sponsored All India National Students Summit scheduled in Vile Parle on Thursday morning.
The developments came in the wake of a series of disturbances in Maharashtra starting with the desecration of a monument in Vadhu Budruk on December 29, followed by the riots in Koregaon-Bhima that left one dead on January 1, the ‘Maharashtra Shutdown’ that killed a boy and left a trail of destruction across the state.
The Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818, between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima.
The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force.
The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry. The Dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in their history.