Two days after clashes broke out in Maharashtra in the wake of 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, two pro-Hindutva leaders, Milind Ekbote of Samast Hindu Aghadi, and Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, were booked on Tuesday for inciting violence that led to the death of a 30-year-old man. Bhide (85) and Ekbote (60) have been accused of hatching a conspiracy to create clashes in the state. Both the leaders have a huge fan following across Maharashtra, especially among the youth.
According to The Indian Express, the FIR was registered at Pimpri police station against Bhide and Ekbote and their supporters and were later sent to Pune Rural Police. The complaint was filed by Anita Ravindra who is a member of the Bahujan Republican Socialist Party. She alleged that when she visited Sanaswadi near Bhima Koregaon on Monday, some people assaulted them and burnt their flags. She said Bhide and Ekbote’s supporters were hurling stones at people and police was also being attacked.
Both the leaders have been booked under IPC sections on attempt to murder, rioting and relevant sections of the Prevention of Atrocities Act. This is not the first time that Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote are in news. In 2008, Bhide’s followers ransacked movie halls protesting against the release of film Jodha-Akbar. On the other hand, Ekbote has some 12 cases of rioting, trespassing, criminal intimidation, and attempts to spread enmity between two communities against him.
The riots in Bhima-Koregaon started on Monday after the Hindutva activists took out a procession in the area where Dalits were already celebrating annual commemoration of the battle. Soon the activists spread to Pune, leading to clashes in the state.