The organizers Elgaar Parishad, who were refused permission from Pune City police to hold the conference on December 31, they said they would take place in Pune on January 30. They also said that if the police again refused permission for the conference, they would hold the conference “on the street”.
Earlier, on December 20, members of Bhima Koregaon Shaurya from Prerna Abhiyaan – an umbrella body of the various organizations that organized Elgaar Parishad on December 31, 2017 – along with retired High Court Judge BG Kolse Patil, also one of the 2017 conveners had a meeting in Pune. They decided to hold another Elgaar Parishad on Thursday, December 31, ahead of the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
Pune City Police, however, refused permission for the event, citing the Covid-19 pandemic and law and order issues.
Addressing a press conference in Pune on Thursday, Justice (retd) Kolse Patil said: “The purpose of organizing Elgaar Parishad has always been to focus politics on the basic needs of ordinary citizens, along with health and education, and to it takes it away from casteism, communism and religious divisions. We could not hold it on December 31 as planned, so we will hold it now on January 30, at the Ganesh Kala Krida Manch Auditorium in Pune. And if not there, we’ll keep him on the streets. If we are not allowed to do this, we will fill the prisons. “
Akash Sabale, another member of the body, said: “We have now planned to organize Elgaar Parishad on January 30 at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch and we have also made a request. The date coincides with the birthday of Rohith Vemula. The conference will take place between 11:00 and 22:00 and will be addressed by a large number of social activists and thought leaders from across the country. “
Bhima Koregaon Shaurya From Prerna Abhiyaan organizes Elgaar Parishad 2017 at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31st. The next day, January 1, 2018, violence was reported in the Koregaon Bhima area, in which one person was killed and several others were injured. Pune police had claimed that the “provocative” speeches at the conference were among the factors that led to the violence in Koregaon Bhima and arrested several human rights activists across India in connection with the case.
The 2017 conference was addressed by Gujarat MP Jignesh Mevani and student leader Umar Khalid, Rohith Vemula’s mother, Radhika Vemula, Vanchit leader Bahujan Aghadi, Prakash Ambedkar, activist Soni Sori and Vinay Ratan Singh of the Bhim army.
The case of Elgaar Parishad, currently being investigated by the national investigation agency, led to the arrest of organizer Sudhir Dawale and several activists, including Sudha Bhardwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao and Stan Swamy, for their alleged links to the banned Maoist ICC.
Siddharth Dive, another member of the body who addressed the press conference, said: “January 30 is also the day Nathuram Godse shot Mahatma Gandhi … he could be called the first act of terrorism in the country. The conference will also show solidarity with thousands of farmers protesting against farm laws brought by the government. We will also demand the release of 16 activists who are currently in prison in a false case and the arrest of the real culprits Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide ”.
Activist Harshali Potdar, one of the organizers of the 2017 conference and one of the accusers in the Elgaar Parishad case, was also present at the press conference.