Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has agreed in principle to withdraw nearly 700 cases related to the Bhima Koregaon and Maratha agitations.
The State Home Department on Wednesday forwarded a status report to the Chief Minister recommending him withdrawal of cases which have been scrutinised by two authorised committees, a Cabinet sub-committee headed by the Finance Minister and the other headed by the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), who have both scrutinised a numb of cases.
However, while the withdrawal may start in patches, the total process will take nearly one year to complete, officials said.
According to the status report submitted to the Chief Minister, 323 cases for withdrawal are related to Maratha reservation while another 386 are scrutinised and will be taken back in the Bhima Koregaon agitation. About 114 cases are of serious nature and cannot be withdrawn yet.
We have forwarded the report to the CM today and he has taken a call on it. These will be forwarded to the Director General of Police, who will then forward it to the judiciary for starting the process of withdrawal, said a senior official of the Home Department.
Flooded with demands
The new Chief Minister has been flooded with demands for withdrawal of cases for various agitations during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government. Mr. Thackeray has so far announced withdrawal of cases related to Aarey forest agitations, cases related to protests against the Nanar Refinery and cases related to the agitation demanding construction of Ambedkar memorial in Mumbais Indu Mill.
In 2018, violent protests had broken out after thousands of Dalits visiting a war memorial at Bhima Koregaon in Pune district came under attack. The same year Maratha community started a State-wide agitation demanding quota in jobs and education.
Both protests had turned violent resulting in loss of property over 20 crore, officials said.
The Maratha outfits and other organisations have been since demanding that cases registered against activists/protesters during these two agitations be withdrawn. The political parties too have demanded a withdrawal. The government must immediately revoke the police cases filed in the Maratha reservation agitation and also the cases filed against many innocents in the Bhima Koregaon agitation. I have written a letter to the CM, said Congress leader Naseem Khan, one of the several others to have made the demand to the government.
Senior Shiv Sena leader and Cabinet Minister Ekanth Shinde confirmed that the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday discussed to review cases filed in last five years during the protests and agitations. No one will suffer the injustice. There will be no party bias while taking the decision. All major leaders who were part of the Maratha agitation will have a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and thereafter a decision on rolling back of cases will be taken, said Mr. Shinde.
The Sena Minister added that apart from these cases, cases lodged against farmers who had participated in various agitations will be reviewed.