Bhima-koregaon violence: Arrest Sambhaji Bhide by Mar 26, warns Prakash Ambedkar

MUMBAI: Bharipa Bahujan Mahasanghleader Prakash Ambedkar demanded that the Maharashtra government arrest Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide, accused of inciting the Bhima-Koregaon violence, failing which he will launch a protest.

“We give an ultimatum, if the state government does not arrest Sambhaji Bhide, we will take out a morcha on March 26. We will start from Byculla and march to the Vidhan Bhavan,” Prakash Ambedkar told reporters.

Though Hindu Ekta Aghadi leader Milind Ekbote has been arrested, the government is yet to take Bhide into custody, he said.

A case was registered against Ekbote and Bhide, the head of the right wing outfit Shiv Pratishthan Sansthan, for allegedly inciting the anti-Dalit violence that left a man dead near the Bhima Koregaon war memorial in Pune district on January 1.

The incident took place during an event to commemorate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle.

Subsequent protests had disrupted normal life in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

The Pune rural police yesterday arrested Ekbote from his residence after the Supreme Court turned down his anticipatory bail plea.

Prakash Ambedkar, who is the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution also demanded that the judicial commission, set up under retired Justice Jai Narayan Patel, to probe the Bhima-Koregaon violence be disbanded and asitting judge be appointed to investigate the incident.

The new committee should be given powers prescribed under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), he said.

He alleged that false cases were filed against those who came out on streets to express anguish over the Bhima-Koregaon violence on January 1.

Meanwhile, Ambedkar also demanded that all scholarships ofstudents belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) be given on time.

The income limit of the families of SC/ST/OBC students who seek scholarships should be increased to Rs 5 lakh and for the families of students of economically backward class, it should be raised to Rs 10 lakh, he demanded.

Also, the condition of 75 per cent attendance for SC, ST and OBC studentsto avail the scholarships should be done away with, said the Dalit leader and grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar.

The demands of students of the city-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) should also be addressed urgently, he said.

Ambedkar had last week come out in support of the TISS students, who have been protesting against the withdrawal of financial aid provided to them.

PTI inputs