MUMBAI: Union minister Ramdas Athawale today demanded arrest of right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide, one of the prime accused in the Koregaon-Bhima caste violence in which one person was killed in January this year.
"Nobody is above law. If Sambhaji Bhide was involved in instigating the violence in Koregaon-Bhima, he should be arrested like Milind Ekbote (another accused in the case), and there should be a detailed inquiry of the Shiv Pratishthan headed by Bhide," the Minister of State for Social Justice said in a statement issued here.
Dalit workers of the RPI (A), headed by Athawale, today held a protest in suburban Bandra to press for various demands of the backward communities.
Athawale said that despite being a Union minister, he would continue to organise morchas on the issues related to the backward communities.
"This morcha is not been against the government but for strengthening the government. Nobody can change the Constitution and nobody can take back reservation being given to backward communities," Athawale said.
He alleged that attempts are being made to malign the image of the government by spreading false information.
Athawale further said that he is a part of the government to ensure that its stand on reservation and Atrocities Act does not change.
The police had arrested Hindu Ekta Aghadi leader Milind Ekbote in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima incident after the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking anticipatory bail.
A case was registered against both Ekbote and Bhide, the head of the Shiv Pratishthan Sansthan, for allegedly inciting the anti-Dalit violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune district on January 1.
Bhide had denied the allegations against him.
The incident took place during an event to commemorate the bicentenary of the Koregaon-Bhima battle in which the British forces comprising Dalit soldiers defeated the Peshwas.
Largescale protests were held in Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra after the Koregaon-Bhima clashes between the members of Dalit and Maratha communities.