Opposition BJP in Maharashtra on Wednesday dubbed as a "blatant support to naxalism" the ruling NCP's demand to withdraw cases related to the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima caste violence.
NCP leader and MLA Dhananjay Munde had on Tuesday demanded withdrawal of cases related to Koregaon-Bhima violence, claiming the previous BJP-led NDA government had slapped "false" cases against those named in the incident, including social activists.
In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Munde had also said the erstwhile government had "harassed" intellectuals, activists, social workers and ordinary citizens who had raised their voice against injustice, and had labelled several of them as "urban Naxals".
The NCP is a key constituent in the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, of which the Congress is also a part.
"The NCP's demand for withdrawal of cases is a blatant support to naxalism. Even the (Pune) court has admitted that there has been some primary evidence against the accused persons, which is the reason the court did not accept their bail applications," BJP state chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.
"Chargesheets have been filed in the case. How can one simply withdraw the cases?" Bhandari questionned.
Violence had erupted at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018, a day after alleged inflammatory speeches were made at a conclave, 'Elgar Parishad, organised to commemorate 200 years of a famous battle between the Peshwas and the East India Company.
A subsequent bandh called by Dalit outfits to protest the violence as well as what they claimed was police high- handedness also saw incidents of vandalism and damage to public property, leading to more people being booked.
CM Thackeray had said the earlier Devendra Fadnavis government had already issued orders to withdraw the cases against persons facing minor criminal charges related to the caste riot.
Incidentally, some of the activists arrested by the Pune police in connection with the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case have been accused of having links with Naxal outfits, including the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
These Left-wing activists have been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).