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Coronavirus Outbreak: Bhima Koregaon Commissioner postpone its hearings, seeks extension

The Bhima Koregaon Commission, formed in February 2018, had summoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on April 4. Pawar was summoned as a witness in light of the certain statements made by him about the violence.

Coronavirus Outbreak: Bhima Koregaon Commissioner postpone its hearings, seeks extension
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In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak across the country including Maharashtra, the judicial panel investigating the Bhima-Koregaon violence case suspended its hearings till further notice. The Bhima Koregaon Commission postponed its hearing from March 30 and has sought at least six months extension to complete the investigation. 

The Bhima Koregaon Commission, formed in February 2018, had summoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on April 4. Pawar was summoned as a witness in light of the certain statements made by him about the violence. Moreover, the commission’s term is also ending on April 8 and there’s no clarity on a further extension. 

The Bhima Koregaon Commission comprises of a two-member panel including former Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Jaynarayan Patel and former chief secretary Sumit Mullick. Maharashtra government had earlier asked the commission to give suggestions for the police machinery to follow in future to avoid such incidents. 

On Monday, Bhima Koregaon Commission Secretary VV Palnitkar wrote to Maharashtra Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta informing him about the postponement of all hearing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

“The commission is unable to submit its report. If the state government gives the commission an extension, it intends to examine another 40-50 witnesses including the police and politicians. For that, the commission will require at least six months,” the letter by Palnitkar read. 

Speaking about the Bhima Koregaon violence, Sharad Pawar earlier blamed Manohar Bhide and Milind Ekbote for the violence. The Commission had summoned Pawar on March 18. 

The violence took place on January 1, 2018, where hundreds of people visiting the war memorial were attacked at Bhima-Koregaon. In the stone-pelting, one person lost his life while several people were injured. 

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