Dalit man demands Sambhaji Bhide’s arrest, attempts suicide outside Mantralaya in Mumbai
A Dalit political worker from Ahmednagar, associated with Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, tried to commit suicide outside Mantralaya on Wednesday.
Ganesh Dilip Pawar was spotted by police personnel from Marine Drive police station posted on duty outside Mantralaya and stopped before he could pour kerosene and immolate himself.
“The incident took place around 1.30pm. Our officers saw what he was about to do and rushed and stopped him,” said Vikas Gangawane, senior police inspector of Marine Drive police station.
Around 1pm, Pawar had come to Mantralaya, and demanded the arrest of Sambhaji Bhide, who has been accused of instigating the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January this year, Gangawane said, adding: “We have detained Pawar and are looking into the matter.”
The Maharashtra government, which has given Bhide a clean chit, has said that he was not in the area at the time of the incident and had nothing to do with any inflammatory speeches.
There have been a spate of suicides at Mantralaya this year. Earlier this year, the government came under severe criticism after an 84-year-old farmer from Dhule district consumed a poisonous chemical outside Mantralaya to protest against the inadequate compensation for his land and died.
Following multiple suicide bids, and the deaths of three people, including a murder convict who jumped off the fifth floor, the government installed safety nets in February at the building’s second floor-level to prevent such incidents. Security and screening have also been tightened.