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Investigating the Violence in Koregaon Bhima

The violence that broke out on the occasion of the bicentenary celebration of the defeat of the Peshwas at Koregaon Bhima on 1 January 2018 was a systematic attack by saffron mobs, egged on by Hindu right-wing organisations, to incite caste and communal hostilities between the Marathas and Malis on the one side and Dalits and Muslims on the other, a fact-finding report has concluded.

Koregaon Bhima village is situated at a distance of 30 km east of Pune on the Pune–Nagar road. Four kilometres ahead and to the north is Sanaswadi village and to its north is the Chakan Shikrapur road. It is in this triangular area, within the vicinity of Pune city, that a “riot” took place on the first day of 2018, though it would be wrong to call the sequence of events described here as riots.

On the one hand was a well-armed and organised crowd of 2,000 to 3,000, fuelled by rumours and frenzy. On the other, was an unsuspecting and clueless population of around three lakh families (children and the elderly included), who came to the Koregaon Bhima war memorial to pay homage. This mass, which had congregated from all corners of Maharashtra and was spread across the above-mentioned triangular area, was attacked in a targeted manner. As news of the violence spread, the state was faced with a volcanic situation. Who were behind these attacks and what were their motives in pushing Maharashtra to the brink?

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Updated On : 3rd Apr, 2018

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