MUMBAI: Milind Ekbote, executive president of Samasta Hindi Aghadi, who was arrested last week in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon riots on January 1, was attacked in the premises of Pune Sessions Court on Monday.
The attacker tried to blacken Ekbote’s face but was prevented and has been arrested, the police have said.
Ekbote was arrested under charges of inciting the riot at Bhima-Koregan last Wednesday and was remanded to police custody till March 21. It was when he was being taken to the court for hearing in this regard he was attacked, the police said. They added that the court has extended his police custody by two days.
Meanwhile, Sambhaji Bhide, the other accused in the case addressed a press conference at Sangli on Monday and demanded that the real perpetrators of the riot, the groups that organized the Elgar Parishad at Pune before the Bhima-Koregaon riots, needed to be arrested.
Dalit activists from the state had gathered at the war memorial at Bhima-Koragaon in large numbers on January 1, 2018 to commemorate the bicentenary of the war between British troops that comprised of Dalit soldiers and the Peshwa army wherein the Peshwa army was defeated. Stones were pelted at the mobs leading to riots wherein one person had lost life that day.
While BBMS leader Prakash Ambedkar had named Ekbote and Bhide for inciting the violence, the duo had blamed the Elgar Parishad at Shaniwar Wada the previous Sunday for the violence. The rally at Shaniwar Wada was organized by Leftist and Dalit groups and was addressed by Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani, JNU leader Umar Khalid, former Justice B G Kolse-Patil, Prakash Ambedkar and others.
While FIRs have been lodged against the members of Kabir Kala Mach who participated in the Elgar rally, no action has been taken against them as yet.
Bhide raised questions over the alleged indiscrimination. Why organizers and participants of Elgar rally are allowed to roam free, he asked. Bhide said that the riots are being used to achieve political motives. He also raised question over the state government decision to pay for the damage in the riots. “Government should make the perpetrators of the riots to pay for the damages,” he said.
Ambedkar had a couple of days back warned that he would lead a ‘Long March’ against the government if Bhide is not arrested till March 26.