Mumbai: After addressing the mammoth Elgar morcha at Azad maidan on Monday, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) president Dr Prakash Ambedkar gave an eight-day ultimatum to the state government to take action against Sambhaji Bhide, an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence of January 1. The caste clashes occurred during an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle between British- Maratha forces. Mr Ambedkar led a delegation and met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The CM assured him that he would look into the matter.
The delegation’s sole demand was Bhide’s arrest. Mr Ambedkar said that if government does not act against Bhide within eight days, then the leaders of 'Elgar Parishad' would meet and decide the next course of action. The dalit leader also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was protecting Bhide from arrest.
“We do not want to make this battle between us and the PM. But if he wants we will also not step back,” warned Mr Ambedkar.
Meanwhile, the Congress criticised the Maharashtra government for not granting them permission for the protest march. Elgar Parishad, a conglomeration of 200 organisations held a massive rally at Azad Maidan on Monday. “We have given an ultimatum to the state government. We showed Facebook status of Bhide's supporter Raosaheb Patil who appealed to kill even CM Fadnavis. We have requested the state government to arrest Bhide,” said Mr Ambedkar after meeting Mr Fadnavis in Vidhan Bhavan.
Mr Ambedkar along with communist leader Prakash Reddy, and community leaders from Maratha, Dhangar met the CM.
He sarcastically demanded the closure of the police department. “Bhide’s supporters are threatening to kill the
CM but the police is still not taking any action. Then what is their use?” he asked.
The delegation raised the issue of FIR against Mr Bhide and Milind Ekbote, another accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence. “Mr Ekbote is the accused number two, while Bhide is accused number one in the FIR. Why is the state government protecting him?” the delegation said.