Justice Bhushan Gavai of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday recused himself from hearing the anticipatory bail plea of Milind Ekbote (pictured above), the leader of the Hindutva outfit Samasta Hindu Aghadi, which is accused of inciting violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
Ekbote’s lawyer will mention the matter again before another bench later on Wednesday, ANI reported.
Ekbote, whose anticipatory bail application was rejected by a court in Pune on January 23, had approached the High Court on Monday.
Two First Information Reports – one in Pimpri and another in Aurangabad – were filed against Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, who leads the organisation Shiv Pratishthan. Dalit leaders and workers who had gathered in Bhima Koregaon near Pune alleged that they had seen Bhide and Ekbote in the area. The two Hindutva leaders have denied this.
A preliminary report prepared by a 10-member fact-finding and co-ordination committee has said that the violence against Dalit activists was planned and members of radical Hindutva groups were involved in it. Pune’s Deputy Mayor Siddharth Dhende, who led the committee, said there was sufficient evidence against Ekbote and Bhide proving that they had instigated the violence against Dalits.
A man was killed in the violence, which subsequently spread to Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra over the next couple of days, with Dalit protestors calling for a bandh across the state. A 16-year-old teenager was crushed to death on January 3 in Nanded city while trying to escape the police during the unrest.