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Posted at: Mar 14, 2018, 5:20 PM; last updated: Mar 14, 2018, 5:20 PM (IST)

Hindutva leader held for anti-Dalit violence on Jan 1

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service
Mumbai, March 14

The Pune rural police arrested Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, who is accused of orchestrating the attacks on Dalits who gathered in the town of Koregaon near Pune on January 1 to mark the 200th year of the battle at Koregaon-Bhima.

Ekbote, who heads the Samast Hindu Aghadi, was arrested from his home after the Supreme Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea on Wednesday. The police had earlier sought Ekbote’s custody after First Information Reports were filed against him and another leader right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide by Dalit activists. Both are accused
of instigating local villagers to attack the vehicles of Dalits who arrived on January 1 at the site of the battle where the British troops defeated the Maratha army.

Members of the Mahar community had served in the British army and the practice of commemorating the battle was started by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar before Independence.

According to the police two FIRs against Ekbote and Bhide were filed by activists Anita Salve and Sushma Andhare on January 2, a day after the violence. The matter was then taken up for investigation by the Pune rural police.

According to the complaint against him, Ekbote had held a press conference on December 30 threatening to disrupt the gathering. He had also demanded that the government withdraw facilities provided to those attending the event.

Following the FIR against him Ekbote filed a plea for anticipatory bail in the Supreme Court. The court had then granted him relief till March 14.

Meanwhile, the police are yet to arrest Bhide on the grounds that investigations against him were still continuing.

The attacks on Dalits sparked off a violent statewide bandh called by Prakash Ambedkar, leader of the Bahujan Bharipa Mahasangh.

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