5 arrested over Bhima-Koregaon caste violence, Maoist link suspected

Dalit protests (File) Dalit protesters at Ghatkopar in Mumbai during the statewide bandh against the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January | Janak D. Bhatt

The Pune Police arrested five people on Wednesday in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence near Pune in January. The suspects were arrested in coordinated operations in Mumbai, Nagpur and Delhi.

The suspect in Delhi, Rana Jacob, was arrested from his apartment in the Munirka area with the support of Delhi Police.

The five suspects, who include a lawyer and a dalit rights activist, have been accused of distributing pamphlets and delivering hate speeches in the run-up to the Bhima-Koregaon violence. They have also been accused of being linked to the Communist Party of India-Maoist.

On January 1, violence had erupted at an event meant to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which British forces, comprising mainly of dalit soldiers, defeated a Peshwa army on January 1, 1818.

The violence led to the death of one person and injuries to several others, including 10 policemen.