Prime accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence, Sambhaji Bhide on Friday dismissing all charges of rioting against him and said that he was a victim of political conspiracy.
Speaking to a news channel in Sangli, Maharashtra, Bhide who is the President of Shivjagar Pratisthan said false allegations against had been leveled against him
“I have no role to play in the riots… There is a conspiracy to vitiate the atmosphere. I never tried to divide communities and I am just a victim of political conspiracy,” Bhide said in Marathi.
Bhide along with Hindu Janjagruti Samiti chief Milind Ekbote are accused of perpetrating the Bhima Koregaon violence against Dalits in which a youth was killed.
On January 2, the Pimpri police (Pune) lodged a complaint against Bhide and Ekbote while the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, a Dalit party headed by Prakash Ambedkar – the grandson of Bharat Ratna BR Ambedkar, called for a ‘peaceful Maharashtra shutdown’ to express anger over the Pune incident.
On Thursday, Prakash Ambedkar called on Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding the arrest and prosecution of Bhide and Ekbote.
However, Bhide rebuffed Prakash Ambedkar’s charges and demanded a thorough investigation into the matter.
“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 said in a statement.
The disturbances erupted in the village of Koregaon-Bhima on January 1 during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Anglo-Maratha War of January 1, 1818, between the army of Peshwa Bajirao II and a small force of the East India Company that comprised a large number of Dalits.
Several lakhs of Dalits had congregated around the Victory Pillar (Vijay Stambh) erected by the British in Sanaswadi village when suddenly stone pelting started, allegedly by some right-wing groups carrying saffron flags.
In the ensuing clashes, more than 30 vehicles, including buses, police vans and private vehicles, were torched or damaged and one youth, Rahul Fatangale, 28 of Nanded lost his life.