Dabhade said that his grandparents always told him that the Shivale family performed the last rites of Sambhaji.
Pune: Two persons who testified in front of the Bhima-Koregaon Inquiry Commission, stated on that Govind Gaikwad, a Mahar, did not perform the last rites of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s son Sambhaji Maharaj, who was killed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, but Bapubuva Shivale, a Maratha from Vadhu Budruk.
The village, where the tomb of Sambhaji Maharaj is located, is 5km away from Bhima-Koregoan and 30 km from Pune. Aurangzeb killed Sambhaji in 1689 and had warned the people not to perform his last rites. However, Mahars and Dalits believe that Gaikwad, collected the remains of Sambhaji at great personal risk and cremated him on his land. In 1715, Shahu, the son of Sambhaji, gave the rights to Gaikwad to take care of tomb. However, Marathas believe that Shivale performed the last rites of Sambhaji.
On December 8, 2017, as per Marathas, Mahars put up board praising Gaikwad in the village. Following, there were skirmishes between the two communities for the next three days. Dalits also lodged an FIR against many Marathas under the Prevention of Atrocities Act the same day. The Marathas allegedly led a rally towards Bhima-Koregaon carrying saffron flags on January 1 and pelted stones at Dalits.
On Friday, the inquiry commission heard the testimonies of two individuals — Sharad Dabhade, a resident of Vadhu Budruk, and Krishna Ragade, a farmer from the same village.
Mr Dabhade said that his grandparents always told him that the Shivale family performed the last rites of Sambhaji. He told the commission, “Gaikwad’s name was never mentioned in any way until three years ago when Gaikwad’s tomb was built in Dalit vasti. He also said that he had never heard of Dalits celebrating the birth anniversary of Sambhaji.
Mr Ragade echoed Mr Dabhade’s statements to the commission.The inquiry commission is headed by J.N. Patel, former Chief Justice of the Kolkata high court and Sumit Mullick, former chief secretary of Maharashtra.
The state government in February this year constituted the commission to inquire into the reason behind the riots that broke out the previous month and give recommendations. The commission had earlier taken affidavits from witnesses and victims. Now it is hearing testimonies of people who had filed affidavits from October 3 to 6.