Bhima-Koregaon violence: Bhide’s supporters hold rally at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Bhima-Koregaon violence: Bhide’s supporters hold rally at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan

Sambhaji Bhide has been accused of inciting violence against Dalits in January; CM Fadnavis on Tuesday said there is no proof against him

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2018 11:36 IST
HT Correspondent
Supporters of right-wing Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide at Azad Maidan on Wednesday.
Supporters of right-wing Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide at Azad Maidan on Wednesday.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

At least 1,000 supporters of right-wing Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide, who was accused of instigating violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune in January this year, gathered at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan on Wednesday morning to protest against demands for his arrest, a day after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave a clean chit to Bhide.

Earlier, the protest had been planned as a march from Byculla zoo up to Azad Maidan, but the plan changed after Shivpratishthan Hindustan, the organisation behind the rally, was denied police permission for the march.

Bharat Mali, a member of Shivpratishthan Hindustan, said: “We wrote to the police asking for permission and have obliged to their request to not hold a march for reasons of law and order.”

While sources estimated the crowd to be around 1,000 people, organisers said 3,000 supporters have turned up.

Prakash Ambedkar, president of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson, has been demanding Bhide’s arrest since the Bhima Koregaon violence. On Monday, the Dalit leader held a march in Mumbai, protesting against the government’s failure to arrest Bhide.

Bhide had been accused of instigating violence against the Dalit community, which led to clashes at Bhima Koregaon in Pune district, and then spread to Mumbai and other cities in Maharashtra. Two days after the incident, the Pimpri Chinchwad police had registered an FIR against Bhide and Milind Ekbote of Hindu Ekta Aghadi for inciting violence.

On Tuesday, Fadnavis told the state Assembly that investigating agencies had not found any direct evidence of Bhide’s involvement and that he had no contact with the people involved in the violence.