24 September 2020 11:44 AM

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NIKHIL WAGLE | 16 JUNE, 2018

Plot to Kill PM: A Political Stunt?

Plot to kill PM: A political stunt?


A conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister is no joke. Which is why when the Pune police said the Maoists are planning to kill Narendra Modi, it raised several eyebrows.

Maoists have tried to kill established leaders in the past. Chandrababu Naidu, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Ramvilas Paswan are some of the prominent leaders to have survived their attacks.

Congress leaders Vidya Charan Shukla, Mahendra Karma were killed in such attacks. So if their next target is Prime Minister Modi, the reactions to it should have been equally serious.

But the Union Home Ministry responded with a token statement, rest of the security agencies hardly paid any attention. And opposition parties dismissed it as a stunt.

But the most significant reaction has come from Sharad Pawar, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and former Defence Minister of India. Pawar never makes sensational statements about security issues and his contacts in concerned departments are still ‘alive’. In Pune, however, he mocked the threat to PM as a publicity stunt, during a political rally.

The Pune police arrested five activists in connection with Bheema Koregaon violence, alleging they are linked with Maoists and they funded the Elgar Yatra, which was organised to celebrate 200 years of Bhima-Koregaon battle.

Two days later,the police said all these accused were involved in a conspiracy to kill PM, producing two emails describing the plan to assassinate Modi. Amusingly, before the emails reached the court, they were accessed by a mouthpiece channel of the ruling party and a BJP spokesperson. After the emails went viral, Maharashtra Police Chief Satish Mathur clarified laughably that the letters were leaked by Maoists to the police and to the channels.

Intriguingly, such conspiracies to kill Modi have transpired several times before, since 2009. Gujarat police have “exposed” four such ploys. But never told us what happened to the investigations after that.

It raises questions regarding the genuity of the episode, and makes one wonder if it is a farce. Former police officers who have dealt with Naxals and Maoists questioned the veracity of the emails. In fact, if you look at them closely, you don’t have to be an expert to realise that the letters are fictitious.

One has to be really naïve to believe Maoists write detailed emails of their plans to execute the PM. Another email even mentions Prakash Ambedkar and Congress party, which was purposefully read out by BJP spokespersons on TV!

Astonishingly, when the five activists were presented before the court, the police did not even mention the plot to kill PM in their remand note. If the police thought it wasn’t important enough, our force is profoundly incompetent.

On the next hearing on June 14 police twisted the original ‘plot to kill PM’ story. They claimed that the accused were planning to organise a lecture in memory of alleged naxalite Navin Babu in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The Elgar Yatra had more than 200 organisations participating in it. Its main organisers, former Chief Justice PB Sawant and B G Kolse Patil, have said that apart from Sudhir Dhawle, the other four arrested activists have had nothing to do with it. Further, if the police were sure of it, why weren’t the two main organisers approached for questioning?

The Elgar Yatra travelled through Maharashtra in December, which concluded at Shaniwar Wada, Pune. Shaniwar Wada is a palace of Peshwas, a symbol of Brahminical pride. Brahmin Mahasangh opposed Elgar rally at Shaniwar Wada, which created a huge controversy. Pune BJP mayor opposed this rally too. BJP activists objected to the presence of Jignesh Mewani and Umar Khalid at this rally and claimed that the Yatra had links with Naxal groups. Interestingly, the Pune police is now parroting the same theory.

It is important to see how the police has gone about investigations in this case. Prakash Ambedkar had publicly charged that the Bheema Koregaon violence, on January 1

2018, was unleashed on Ambedkarites by Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekdbote, both radical Hindutva leaders. Till today, Bhide remains untouched, while Ekbote is out on bail. Maharashtra government did appoint an inquiry committee to probe this violence, but the work has not proceeded.

Obviously, serious questions are raised now. Are the authorities doing this to save Hindutva leaders? Are they trying to defame the entire Ambedkarite movement by labelling them Naxals? If the police had genuine proof, what were they doing till date? Or are they expanding on the BJP’s ridiculous theory of Urban Naxals? It is the same theory that was used to attack Kanhaiyya and Rohith Vemula or Jignesh Mewani. It was also peddled after the Khairlanji case. Is it a sinister ploy to suppress Dalit voices?

The Ambedkarite movement in Maharashtra has a long history.The activists involved in it are mature enough to understand the politics. It is laughable to believe they would let Naxals infiltrate their movement. That is why, perhaps, Modi’s cabinet minister Ramdas Athavle, BJP MPs Udit Raj and Amar Sable have dismissed these claims. They know It could well backfire on the government.

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