Bhima Koregaon violence: Sambhaji Bhide denies his role, seeks withdrawal of charges
Sambhaji Bhide, prime accused in Bhima Koregaon incident, denied his role in the incident and demanded a thorough probe in the matter. Pimpri Police in Pune district had filed a case against Bhide and others under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and under various sections of the IPC including an attempt to murder as one person was killed in the caste clashes in Koregaon.
In a press note issued to media, Bhide said, "Prakash Ambedkar blamed me for the conspiracy which is completely wrong, demand the Government to investigate this matter thoroughly, strong punishment must be given to whoever is guilty". Bhide (85), who heads Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, met with Sangli district collector with thousands of his supporters and demanded the withdrawal of charges against him.
Bhide has worked as a professor in Pune-based Sir Parshuram College. A former RSS member, Bhide founded the Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, which is mostly active in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts in western Maharashtra. He has a sizable following in western Maharashtra, reports PTI.
Violence broke out between two groups during an event to mark 200 years of the Bhima Koregaon battle near Pune on Monday. The event was marred by incidents of stone pelting and vandalism. The incident occurred in the afternoon when people were heading towards a war memorial in the village. The violence erupted after a group and some members of the crowd on its way to visit the memorial had an argument over some issue. The Battle of Koregaon was fought on 1 January 1818 in Pune district, in which the British Army comprising Dalits had defeated upper-caste Peshwas.
(With agency inputs)