Pune violence: Two Hindu leaders booked, complaint against Mevani, Umar Khalid
Maharashtra has been on the boil over the violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1 that led to the death of 28-year-old Rahul Phatangale and left four others injured.india Updated: Jan 03, 2018 15:13 IST
Maharashtra police have registered cases against two local Hindu right-wing leaders for allegedly orchestrating the violence on January 1 in Pune district that caused the death of a 28-year-old man during bicentennial celebrations of a British-era war.
The two leaders – Milind Ekbote of Hindu Ekta Aghadi and Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Pratisthan – are accused of stoking the violence near Bhima Koregaon and booked under the Scheduled Castes And Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
A separate complaint has been filed against Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid in Pune for allegedly making controversial statements during an event in the city on December 31.
Ekbote, an ex-corporator, who unsuccessfully contested civic elections on a Shiv Sena ticket in 2017, refuted the charges and said some organisations were deliberately trying to shift the blame on Hindutva outfits. “Me or my organisation has never discriminated between Dalits and non-Dalits,” he said. Bhide was unavailable for comment.
Maharashtra has been on the boil over the violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1 that led to the death of 28-year-old Rahul Phatangale and left four others injured. More than 40 vehicles were burnt or damaged and several houses and shops torched at a time when hundreds of thousands of Dalits were visiting Bhima Koregaon to celebrate a 1818 war between the Peshwa and British.
Many believe Dalit soldiers in the British army helped defeat the Peshwa, who was said to have instituted oppressive caste practices.
The violence sparked angry protests across the state on Tuesday with demonstrators damaging buses, torching cars and blocking traffic. A statewide bandh has been called on Wednesday.
The case against Ekbote and Bhide came on a complaint by Anita Savale, a member of the Bahujan Republican Socialist Party. The case has been shifted to Shikrapur police station, under which Bhima Koregaon falls. The complaint against Mevani and Khalid is being probed at Vishrambaug police station in Pune.
On Tuesday, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar blamed “outsiders” for stoking the violence. Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) leader Prakash Ambedkar also blamed Hindutva outfits and named Ekbote and Bhide. The state government has ordered a judicial probe.