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Prominent Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale among four arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon violence

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After arresting right wing activist Milind Ekbote in connection with Bhima- Koregaon violence, Pune police on Wednesday apprehended four Dalit activists associated with the ‘Elgar Parishad’ which had taken place in Pune a day before the clashes in January this year.

The arrests were made from Mumbai, Delhi and Nagpur. The arrested persons include prominent Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale who was picked up from Mumbai; lawyer Surendra Gadling and activist Mohan Raut were picked from Nagpur; and Rona Wilson was arrested from Delhi.

ANI reported that they have been accused of distributing controversial pamphlets and delivering hate speech that led to violence in Bhima-Koregaon in January this year.

Wilson was arrested by the Pune Police with the help of Delhi Police’s Special Cell. He was produced before the Patiala House court and was sent to 2-day transit remand. He will be produced before a local court in Pune on June 8.

Dhawale was one of the organisers of the ‘Elgar Parishad’ which was organised by Dalit organisations to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bhima- Koregaon battle between Peshwas and army of East India Company consisting soldiers from Dalit Mahar community. A day after the event, Bhima- Koregaon had witnessed violence in which one person was killed while several people were injured. Dalit groups had blamed right win organisations for the violence.

Following the violence, a case was registered against Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and JNU student Umar Khalid for allegedly giving provocative speeches. Pune police were also scrutinising the video footage of the event where members of Kabir Kala Manch had also performed.

In the month of April, Police had carried out searches at the residences and offices of Dhawale, Dagling and Wilson. Now five months after the event, Pune police have made the arrests from different parts of the country.

According to the Pune police officials, the arrested accused may have some possible ‘Maoist links’.

“These four arrests have been made in connection with the FIR registered in Vishrambaug police station for inciting people. We are investigating the Maoist link in the Bhima- Koregaon violence,” Joint Commissioner of police Ravindra Kadam said.

Police have slapped Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act (UAPA) along with relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the arrested persons.

Reacting to arrests, Mevani said this was an attack on Ambedkarite movement.

“Maharashtra police has arrested Ambedkarite activist & editor Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai, advocate Surendra Gadling in Nagpur and Rona Wilson in Delhi. All 3 booked under draconian UAPA while Bhima Koregaon culprit Manohar Bhide roams scot free,” the Vadgam MLA said.

Dalit groups commemorate the 1818 battle as the East India Companys army consisted of Mahars, a Dalit community, who defeated the upper-caste Peshwas forces. However, some Hindutva organisations had opposed the commemoration this time. Dalits visiting the War Memorial at Bhima Koregaon for commemorating the bicentenary of an 1818 victory of the East India Company over the Peshwa’s forces came under attack on January 1 this year.

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India slams UN’s Kashmir report, says it legitimises terrorism

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India on Tuesday called upon UN to reject efforts by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to legitimise terrorism and call for India’s dismemberment through the recent report on Kashmir in defiance of very definition of terror outlined by the global body.

“It should be a matter of deep concern for the Council that this report undermines the UN-led consensus on terrorism and in fact, legitimises terrorism by referring to the UN designated terrorist entities as “armed groups” and calling terrorists “leaders”. Surely, the Council cannot be oblivious of this attempt to legitimise terrorism, which remains the pernicious violator of all fundamental rights,” Rajiv K. Chander, Permanent Representative of India in UN (Geneva) emphasised in a statement on Tuesday.

This was India’s first reaction at UN following last week’s report on Kashmir human rights situation.

“We are dismayed at the High Commissioner’s reference to a fallacious and motivated report that has already been rejected by India. This selective compilation of largely unverified information, aimed at promoting a false narrative, distorts the truth,” Chander noted.

“…the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan is in forcible and illegal occupation of a part of the Indian state. We condemn all references in this report which seek dismemberment of India,” Chander said in reference to report on “self determination” in Kashmir. Experts familiar with the iissue told ET that suggestion in the report on “self-determination” in Kashmir is akin to suggesting dismemberment of a UN member by an UN official.

“Our governments, elected through free and fair elections, are sworn to protecting the Constitution that is the bedrock of all our freedoms. It is the cross border terrorism that seeks to muzzle the voices of our people. The last week’s gruesome assassination of a senior journalist and his security officers, silencing a voice of moderation, and abduction and brutal killing of a soldier while on his way home for Eid in Jammu and Kashmir, are its chilling reminders.

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Rahul Gandhi sharpens attack on PM Modi, says he may also run away like Nirav, Mallya

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday sharpened his attack on Narendra Modi as he compared him with fugitive Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, saying the prime minister may also run away.

The 47-year-old Congress leader was addressing party workers in Mumbai after appearing before the civil judge in Bhiwandi in a defamation case filed against him by an RSS worker.

Addressing party workers, Rahul said, “When Nirav Modi can run away, Mallya can run away taking 9,000 crores, Lalit Modi can run away … he (Modi) may also run away.”

Stating that Congress party works towards building an inclusive India, Rahul said, “They (BJP) have recently lost in Karnataka and have barely saved themselves in Gujarat. They will be wiped out in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. Congress and other Opposition parties will defeat them in the General Elections of 2019.”

Rahul Gandhi also took a dig at BJP leaders for not visiting former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on priority. The 93-year-old leader has been admitted to the AIIMS with urinary tract infection, lower respiratory tract infection and kidney issues.

“We had contested against Vajpayee ji but when he was admitted, I was the first to meet him because I am a soldier of Congress. Vajpayeeji had worked for our country and we respect him as he was the Prime Minister. This is our culture,” Rahul said.

The Congress leader also said that his party has given LK Advani more respect than Narendra Modi. “LK Advani has been the guru of PM Modi, but I have seen in events that PM Modi does not even respect his guru. Today I feel very sad for Advani ji.”

Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi slammed Modi for not talking about employment for youth and farmers and said that his fight was against the government’s policies.

He also dared the BJP and the RSS to slap as many cases on him as they wanted to.

“Our fight is against the policies of the prime minister. Farmers are frustrated and the prime minister does not talk about employment for youth. This government is only for the rich,” Gandhi told reporters outside the Bhiwandi court.

He took a swipe at Modi’s radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ and said the prime minister does not speak about ‘kaam ki baat’ like providing employment to youth or safeguarding farmers.

“Let them (the BJP and the RSS) slap as many cases as they want against me. Ours is a fight of ideology. We will fight them and win,” Gandhi said.

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Before shooting himself, Bhaiyyuji Maharaj wrote ‘stressed out, fed up’ in suicide note

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Bhaiyyu Maharaj, the 50-year-old spiritual leader, who shot himself to death at his Indore house was suffering from depression, according to the two-line suicide note.

‘Some body should be there to handle duties of family… I am leaving to(o) much stressed out, fed up (sic),’ Bhaiyyu Maharaj wrote before taking the fatal decision.

The police is also investigating this angle. ‘We have seized the suicide note. In the suicide note, he has mentioned mental tension but the reason for the tension is not known as yet. We are investigating the case,’ DIG Harinarayanchari Mishra was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Talking about the investigation, Inspector General of Police Makrand Deoskar said that ‘all aspects of the case are being investigated. Family members will also be questioned.’

The Congress, meanwhile, has alleged that the Madhya Pradesh government had put pressure on him to accept privileges and support the Shivraj Singh Chouhan administration, which he refused to do. ‘He was under a lot of mental pressure. CBI probe should be done,’ Congress leader Manak Agarwal said.

Bhaiyyu Maharaj had massive following in his home state Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra also. In 2016, the self-styled guru had announced that he renounce public life.

In 2011, Bhaiyyu Maharaj shot to limelight, when the then UPA government deputed him as a mediator to persuade social activist Anna Hazare to call off his fast at the Ramlila ground in Delhi over the Lokpal issue.

Before becoming Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had also invited Bhaiyyu Maharaj during his ‘sadbhavna vrat’ in Gujarat.

Several VVIPs are known to have visited his Indore ashram. Narendra Modi, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Pratibha Patil, Uddhav and Raj Thackeray, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle have visited him in the past.Despite tremendous clout, Bhaiyyu Maharaj never accepted any role in politics. He always maintained a safe distance and said that a saint is above all such worldly issues.

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