A great deal has happened in India since January 2018. This extract from an article in scroll.in gives a brief overview of events. To read the full article just click on the link at the end.
- On New Year’s day 2018, caste violence broke out in Bhima Koregaon village, 30 km from Pune, during a Dalit commemoration event. This event was preceded by a meeting in the city that brought together Ambedkarite organisations and Left activists.
- Some have claimed that this nascent yet politically-potent combination held a threat to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which prompted its allied Hindutva groups to incite violence at Bhima Koregaon and cause a disruption. Others, however, blame the violence on allegedly incendiary speeches by activists at the meeting.
- The competing narratives resulted in a series of police cases. While one case was filed against two Hindutva leaders who opposed the meeting, cases were also filed against activists who organised it, as well as those who spoke on stage.
- The case against the Hindutva leaders resulted in one getting arrested briefly; the other has not even been questioned. Over time, the Pune police’s efforts have come to centre on a complaint that alleged the meeting was organised by Maoists to “mislead the Dalit community”.
- In pursuit of this case, the police has conducted three rounds of raids across six cities, arresting 10 activists and lawyers who work on Dalit and Adivasi rights. The investigation has been marked by criticism of political bias, but also procedural lapses: search warrants were either not presented during the raids, or they were not translated from Marathi. The police took along witnesses from Pune which is illegal. The arrested activists were produced in court without their lawyers being given proper notice.
- Letters purportedly recovered from the activists have been read out to the media, but have not been submitted in court. Experts say the letters stretch credibility.