The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted the anticipatory bail application of Milind Ekbote, one of the Hindutva leaders accused of inciting violence in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on New Year’s Day. The court granted him interim protection till February 20, ANI reported.

Ekbote finally got anticipatory bail after being turned away by two lower courts – the Bombay High Court rejected his application on February 1, and a court in Pune rejected it on January 22.

The Supreme Court granted the Samasta Hindu Aghadi chief relief a day after Additional Sessions Judge Pralhad Bhagure in Pune directed authorities to issue a non-bailable warrant against him, The Times of India reported.

On January 1, clashes broke out in Bhima Koregaon near Pune and its surrounding areas during celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Lakhs of people gather at Bhima Koregaon 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.

Violence erupted after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars heading towards Bhima Koregaon for the commemoration on New Year’s Day. Dalit leaders and workers at the village alleged that they had seen Ekbote, as well as Shiv Pratishthan chief Sambhaji Bhide, in the area then. While the Hindutva leaders have denied the claim, two First Information Reports were filed against them in Maharashtra – one in Pimpri and another in Aurangabad.