Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Member of Rajya Sabha Sharad Pawar on Thursday told the Bhima Koregaon Commission of Inquiry that persons making speeches within the ambit of the Constitution are not anti-national. .Advocate Kiran Channe who cross-examined Pawar, asked whether it is abuse of State government power to charge participants from the Elgar Parishad event as anti-national or traitors for having expressed their views and taken an oath to abide by the Constitution and protect Parliamentary Democracy.To this, Pawar answered, “If any person makes a speech within the ambit of the Constitution of India and parliamentary democracy, then he cannot be called anti-national”..During his deposition, Pawar also stated that it is necessary for a political leader to take precautions to ensure that his address to people is not inflammatory resulting in disturbance to law and order and peace.Having said this, he also added that the offence of sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code was often misused against people.“I have explained, in my additional affidavit filed before the Commission, (that the provision is) invoked to suppress their liberty and tend to stifle any voice of dissent raised in a peaceful and democratic way. I propose to raise this issue at appropriate forum like parliament being Member of Rajya Sabha (sic)”, he said..Pawar was being examined before the commission comprising former Calcutta High Court Chief Justice JN Patel and former state chief secretary Sumeet Mullick probing the violent clashes between the Dalit and Maratha groups on December 31, 2017 around the time of the Elgar Parishad event..Advocate Ashish Satpute, lawyer for the Bhima Koregaon commission, sought to know on whom should liability be imposed for loss of public and private property during bandhs and subsequent riots.“If any person/political leader chooses to do so and indulge in such public address or speech, then he is responsible for the consequences”, Pawar responded..Advocate BG Bansode, appearing for Dalit victim Tukaram Gavare questioned Pawar about his statement to media that the investigation in the case is a stigma on the police department.Pawar said it was not correct on the part of police to have filed cases against certain persons who were not present at the Elgar Parishad event.“The incident of Koregaon Bhima and the Elgar Parishad are two different and separate issues. I am also aware that an eminent Judge late Hon’ble Justice PB Sawant, former Judge of Supreme Court of India was to preside over the Elgar Parishad. I feel that there was nothing wrong may have taken place. The speeches in Elgar Parishad may have been an outcry against oppression and atrocities committed against weaker section which does not amount to committing any offence under law,” he added..On being questioned if Vijay Sthambh, the war memorial of Koregaon battle, ought to be notified as an archaeological monument, Pawar answered in affirmative.“The State Government should raise a separate War Memorial in the honor of soldiers who have sacrificed their lives after independence in war with Pakistan and China. This will put an end to the controversy of some ex-servicemen who had put the plate consisting the names of the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in Kargil War,” Pawar suggested..In his deposition, Pawar also suggested that a separate place be earmarked for holding political or social protest to ensure that common man is not put to inconvenience.Additionally it could act as a safeguard to public and private property and if such programs turn violent, it could be conveniently managed by the police machinery which is responsible for maintaining law and order, Pawar deposed.