The Congress on Friday slammed the BJP for its ‘double-speak’ after NDA ally and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale said that it was not right to arrest Dalit rights activists branding them as Maoists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon riots.
Demanding a fair investigation and seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the matter, the party said that he should make it clear whether the probe by the Pune police was correct or the statement by Athawale, who had also demanded a probe into the role of Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide for allegedly instigating violence against Dalits.
In a series of tweets, the Congress party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “BJP’s duplicity and double speak exposed again in Bhima-Koregaon! Union Minister, Athawale calls arrests of Dalit activists as ‘injustice’ and says ‘no relation of Elgaar Parishad with violence’ “Maharashtra Govt describes them as ‘maoist operatives’. Who is lying?”
In another tweet, Surjewala said, “Union Min, Ramdas Athawale also calls for arrest of RSS acolyte, Sambhaji Bhide @ Guruji to PM Modi, whom PM visited in 2014 & praised in a public rally in Sangli. Is this the reason why Mah. Govt is not acting against ‘Bhide & Milind Ekbote’?”
Surjewala concluded by saying that while terrorism, naxalism and extremism were ‘unacceptable,’ a ‘fair investigation, bereft of politics’ was the need of the hour. He said, “Terrorism, naxalism & extremism are unacceptable. No one knows it better then the Congress, which sacrificed Mahatama Gandhi, Indiraji & Rajivji besides S.Beant Singh,Shuklaji & Nand Kumar Patel among others. A fair investigation, bereft of politics, is the need of the hour.”
This came after five people were arrested on Wednesday from Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi by the Pune Police in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January. The Pune Police also made a sensational claim that Maoists were planning to carry out ‘Rajiv Gandhi-like’ assassination of Modi. This charge was widely ridiculed by journalists and commentators, who felt that the news planted to extract electoral mileage in favour of the BJP, which governs Maharashtra.
Journalist Nikhil Waghle wrote, “Maharashtra Police could not investigate assassination plot of Dabholkar and Pansare till today.But they have shown historic alertness about ‘assassination plot’ of Narenda Modi. What an improvement!” Sanjay Nirupam of Congress told ANI, “I am not saying this is completely untrue but it has been PM Modi’s old tactic, since he was CM, whenever his popularity declines, news of an assassination plot is planted. So it should be probed how much truth is in it this time.”
Meanwhile, Dalit leader and an independent MLA from Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani, on Friday alleged that he had continued to receive death threats from the underworld third day in a row. He said, “Threat call continues from Ravi Pujari. Today again I received a threat call on my original number from a person introducing himself as Ravi Pujari frm Australia and also sent a text saying – “stop giving provocative speeches or will shot you. Umar Khalid is also in list”
Athawale, a cabinet colleague of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had said in January that Mevani should not have been blamed for inciting violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune district on 1 January.