Bhima Koregaon Commission

The Bhima Koregaon Commission was formed in 2018. It was formed by the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court based on the request of the State Government of Maharashtra. The commission is headed by Chief secretary of Maharashtra government Sumit Mullick and retired Chief Justice of Calcutta high court Jay Narayan Patel.

What is the role and power of Bhima Koregaon commission?

The commission was appointed to inquire the causes and consequences of Bhima Koregaon incidents. Also, the commission was responsible to make the following inquiries:

  • To check if an individual or a group was directly or indirectly responsible for the Bhima Koregaon incident
  • To check if the actions of the police were adequate
  • To check if the steps taken by the state police are in order to prevent the recurrence of such future incidents
  • To check if the district planning and preparedness is adequate

What are the powers of the commission?

The commission has powers to ask any person to furnish the required information. It can enter into any building, seize any document or book of accounts. The commission is deemed to be a civil court. It shall conduct judicial proceedings.

Why was the commission suspended and summoned again?

In June 2021, a letter was sent to the state government requesting suitable accommodation for an office to hold hearings. As no response was received from the state government, another letter was sent in October 2021 that stated that the commission would suspend hearing if accommodation is not provided. As there was no response from the state government, the commission suspended all of its future hearings. However, the commission resumed the hearing from November 2021 after the state government provided suitable accommodation.

What is the main issue faced by the commission?

Time is the major constraint. The commission was given only four months to submit an investigation report about the Bhima Koregaon event. However, actions by the state government are not immediate. There are delays in notification, appointments, calling affidavit from the public. For instance, the commission was appointed on February 9, 2018. However, the technical experts, secretary and clerks to the commission were appointed only in April 2018. The office premises to accommodate the commission required heavy repairs and was completed only in September 2018.

Why was Bhima Koregaon Commission appointed?

On January 1, 2018, the 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon battle was marked. Lakhs of Dalits gathered at Bhima Koregaon village the mark the anniversary. During the celebration violence led to the death of 28 – year old youth. It also injured five others. The Bhima Koregaon Commission was appointed to inquire this violence. What is Bhima Koregaon battle? On January 1, 1818, a battle was fought between the Peshwa forces and the British. The British army mainly comprised of Dalit soldiers. They fought against the upper caste Peshwa army. The British army defeated the Peshwa. The victory is seen as a win against the caste – based discrimination. The Dalit view the battle as a symbol of pride. The Peshwas who were Brahmins are seen as the oppressors of Dalits.

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