The Mumbai Police have denied permission to Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide’s event scheduled for Sunday in Mumbai’s Parel area, PTI reported.
Bhide is one of the leaders accused of planning the violence in Bhima Koregan near Pune on January 1. On Tuesday, the police in Pimpri, on the outskirts of Pune, had registered cases against 85-year-old Bhide, who leads the Hindutva organisation Shiv Pratishthan, and Milind Ekbote, who heads the radical Hindu outfit Samasta Hindu Aghadi.
The police have denied permission for Bhide’s lecture on the history of forts in Mumbai citing fears that there may be some law and order problems after a few Dalit organisations had opposed it. However, Bhide’s organisation claimed on Saturday that it had cancelled the event after meeting officials from the police department.
Bhide has said that he is not responsible for the violence and sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. “I am prepared to face any probe. All allegations against me are baseless and the truth will come out after the probe,” he had told reporters at Sangli in western Maharashtra on Friday.
The Mumbai Police had on Thursday denied permission to Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid to speak at an event in the city.
Bhima Koregaon clashes
Lakhs of people gather at in Bhima Koregaon near Pune every New Year’s Day to commemorate the victory of the English, whose troops comprised mostly Mahar soldiers, against the Brahmin Peshwa-led Maratha Empire in 1818. Many Dalits celebrate the defeat of the Peshwas as the first step in their continuing struggle against caste-based oppression.
Clashes broke out in Bhima Koregaon and its surrounding areas during celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon on Monday, after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars going towards the village. One person was killed in the violence.
The violence spread to Mumbai and other parts of the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, with protestors calling for a Maharashtra bandh. A 16-year-old teenager was crushed to death on Wednesday while escaping the police during violence.