MUMBAI: In a sensational allegation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dalit leader Adv Prakash Ambedkar on Monday said that Modi is shielding Sambhaji Bhide, the prime accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, which is why Maharashtra government is avoiding the arrest.
“The state government is avoiding Bhide’s arrest as the PM is shielding him. But, that is not our concern at the moment. We want Bhide’s arrest and the government has assured us that they would act within a week’s time,” Ambedkar said after his meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the state assembly complex.
Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar had last week demanded Bhide’s arrest by March 26, warning of an agitation if the government didn’t oblige. He had given a call for an ‘Elgar March’ to push for Bhide’s arrest. However, after the state government denied him permission for the march, he converted it into ‘Elgar Rally’.
Thousands of people from all over the state and, also parts of neighbouring states like Surat and Valsad districts of Gujarat, attended the rally at the Azad Maidan in scorching heat. Fadnavis had invited Ambedkar along with other prominent leaders organizing the rally to understand their demands.
“We shall intensify the agitation if the government doesn’t act on the CM’s promise of arresting Bhide within a week,” Ambedkar said while interacting with media after his meeting with the CM.
“A person named Raosaheb Patil, who proclaims Sambhaji Bhide as his ‘Guru’, had posted objectionable content on social media. ‘We couldn’t meet our target of deaths at Bhima-Koregaon. Maybe we need CM’s head’ the person had posted on social media. We brought this to CM’s notice and demanded that action needs to be taken against this Patil and his Guru Bhide for the statement inciting violence,” Ambedkar said.
Ambedkar also said that it is very serious that the government is not acting against Bhide even after the clear instructions from the Court and added that “If the police is not acting in the case which is as clear as this, the government should dissolve the department.”
The Elgar Rally in Mumbai was organized by 270 organizations. Maratha hardliner Sambahaji Brigade too was one of these organizations. Shrimant Kokate, the spokesperson of Sambhaji Brigade, demanded that if the government is not arresting Bhide, the CM should be put under arrest.
The state government had denied permission to the Elgar March on Saturday. Referring to that Ambedkar said that he had asked for the permission for Byculla to Mantralaya march two months back. By denying permission for the march the government tried to squeeze the life out of the democracy, Ambedkar said.
Ambedkar also referred to the arrest of Milind Ekbote and said if accused number 2 is arrested why there is no action against the accused number 1?
The violence that occurred near the war memorial at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune district on January 1 triggered a sharp reaction from Dalit organisations. While Ekbote was arrested in the case last week, Bhide is yet to be arrested.