Several organisations under the banner 'Mumbai Rises to Save Democracy' on Monday demanded that the Maharashtra government drop charges against nine activists arrested in the Koragoan Bhima caste violence case.
The activists have been accused of having Maoist links and were held after a conclave called 'Elgar Parishad' in Koregaon Bhima on December 31, 2017, to commemorate 200 years of a battle between the Peshwas and the East India Company, allegedly led to violence in adjoining areas of Pune.
They are being tried in a Pune court.
"We want release of the nine activists arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. They are Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut, who were arrested on June 8 last year, and Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bharadwaj, who were held on August 28," one of the participants said.
Cases filed against Dalit youth for incidents of violence during a shutdown call given across the state a couple of days after the incident must also be withdrawn, they demanded.
Noted journalist Nikhil Wagle, who was present at the press conference, said, "These cases were foisted by the previous Devendra Fadnavis government. They must be withdrawn by the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi led by Uddhav Thackeray."
He said a delegation would meet Thackeray to press for the dropping of cases against the nine activists.
Senior lawyers Sanjay Sanghvi and Vikas Utagi were also present at the press meet.