Describing Bhima Koregaon as a symbol of resistance, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday slammed the BJP government at the Centre, saying anyone who opposes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah's "agenda of hate are urban naxals".
Rahul's remarks came a day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday took over investigation from the Maharashtra Police to probe the 2018 Bhima-Koregaon violence. The NIA move came a day after the Maharashtra government held a review meeting with senior Pune police officers to take a call on pursuing the matter.
In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi said, "Anyone who opposes the MOSH agenda of hate is an 'Urban Naxal'. Bhima-Koregaon is a symbol of resistance that the government's NIA stooges can never erase."
The Centre's decision has triggered another confrontation with the Uddhav Thackeray government as it was in the process to withdraw all cases against intellectuals and social activists accused of inciting the clashes.
On Friday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said in a tweet, "I strongly condemn the decision to transfer the investigation of 'Koregaon-Bhima' case to NIA, by the Central Government without any consent of Maharashtra government."
The case refers to violence that erupted near Koregaon-Bhima in Pune district on January 1, 2018 at a time when the Dalits were celebrating 200 years of a British-era battle.
The Pune police had filed cases against social activists and intellectuals who gave speeches at Elgar Parishad, a gathering held on December 31, 2017, a day before the celebrations.
The police had accused the intellectuals and social activists of inciting the violence. Several activists were subsequently picked up in raids conducted across the country.
The state police had then claimed that the organisers of the gathering have Maoist links.
Meanwhile, critics have accused the Central government of jailing activists opposed to its ideology and branding them as urban Naxals".