Arrests to shift focus from Bhide, says NCP

The Asian Age.  | Sonu Shrivastava

Metros, Mumbai

Malik says arrests are Centre’s pre-poll game plan.

Nawab Malik

Mumbai: The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has alleged that the arrests of the five activists were made to divert attention from the culpability of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote. NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik on Thursday said that according to the BJP, the violence at Bhima Koregaon took place due to the Elgar Parishad. “So in that case, is Justice (retd) B. G. Kolse-Patil also a Maoist? Is Prakash Ambedkar also a Maoist?” he asked.  Kolse-Patil and Ambed-
kar were both organisers of the Elgar Parishad event.

The NCP spokesperson said that the arrests were made to protect Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote.  Under the pretext of Maoism, the five activists were arrested. Earlier, four people had already been arrested. “This is the government’s game plan,” he said.

The Elgar Parishad was a public meeting held in Pune a day before the Bhima Koregaon riots. After the riots, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and Dr. Babasaheb Ambe-
dkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar called a Maharashtra bandh.

The bandh was given national media attention and, hence, the BJP tried to give it a Marxist tone. “BJP leaders have created a narrative that the riots were organised by Marxist leaders,” alleged Mr. Malik.

“It is also being said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assassination had been planned. The story seems to be the Centre’s game plan,” added Mr Malik.

The NCP chief spokesperson also pointed out that at a time, arrests are being made in connection with the murders of rationalists and progressive thinkers Narendra Dabholkar M. M. Kalburgi across the country. “The bombs and pistols had already been recovered. The entire nation is talking about it. But, to divert the mass attention, Pune police arrested the five activists in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence,” he said.  Mr Malik said that this is an overall model of the Gujarat model, implemented in Maharashtra.