Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today slammed  the BJP led Centre for transferring the Bhima Koregaon violence case to the National Investigative Agency (NIA). Gandhi said that anyone who opposes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah’s “agenda of hate are urban naxals,” while terming Bhima-Koregaon as “a symbol of resistance.”

Gandhi took to Twitter and 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.”

NCP chief Sharad Pawar also today and accused the Centre said the decision was taken by central government as it feared it would be “exposed”.

“I think the government fears it may be exposed. So the decision has been taken (to transfer the case to NIA),” news agency PTI quoted Pawar as saying.

Condemning the Centre’s decision to hand over the probe into the Koregaon Bhima violence case to the NIA, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said, “Handing over the Koregaon-Bhima probe to the NIA is against the constitution and I condemn it,” said Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh,

The Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition partner – Maharashtra Congress on Saturday alleged that the sudden move substantiates the “conspiracy” of the BJP. while the NCP also alleged that the Centre’s move is aimed at covering up the wrongdoings of the previous BJP-led government in Maharashtra.

“Sudden taking over of Bhima Koregaon riot case by NIA after Maha Vikas Aghadi govt started reinvestigation into inquiry of Pune police, clearly substantiates conspiracy of BJP. Why it took 2 yrs for NIA to find that case is fit under it’s jurisdiction? Strongly condemn!” Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said in a tweet. “Why did it take NIA two years to find out that the case is fit under its jurisdiction. Strongly condemn the decision,” he said.

NCP spokesperson and state Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik described the decision as a “cover-up” by the Centre to hide the wrongdoings of the previous BJP-led government in the state.

Earlier, in November last year NCP chief Sharad Pawar had demanded that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be set up under a retired judge to probe the action taken by Pune Police in the case.

10 activists — Gautam Navlakha,Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale — were arrested by the Pune police from different parts of India in August 2018 for their alleged role in Pune’s December 31, 2017 Elgar Parishad gathering that served as a trigger for the caste riots in Koregaon Bhima the next day, where one person died in the violence.

These activists are accused of having alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist and hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as to overthrow the elected government and booked under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide were also booked for allegedly inciting violence. However, Ekbote was granted bail by the Supreme Court, while Bhide was never arrested.

The caste riots claiming one life, erupted on January 1, 2018 when over a lakh Dalits from across the state and country were celebrating the bi-cententary (200 years) of the historic Anglo-Maratha War in Koregaon Bhima.

The war has political significance as the Mahar caste soldiers of the small Bombay Native Infantry of the British East India Company had vanquished the Peshwa’s large army.

Meanwhile, the BJP is facing allegations of jailing activists who were opposed to its ideology and branding them as “urban Naxals”.

Earlier, the police (under Devendra Fadnavis led previous Maharashtra govt) had claimed that provocative speeches at Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, led to the violence and Maoists were behind the conclave.

The earlier Maharashtra government under BJP had submitted before the court that the activists were arrested due to the ‘cogent’ evidence linking them to the banned CPI (Maoist).