Cops finding out 600 clips dalit organizations gave

PUNE: The Pune rural police on Thursday said they have received memorandums from dalit organizations in the last two days with 600 video and audio clips of speeches by Sambhaji Bhide of , and Milind Ekbote of .
“We are studying these clips to see if the two are involved in the violence or in inciting the mob at Koregaon Bhima and its adjoining villages on January 1. We will take a call about their arrest, later. At first, we are trying to ascertain if these clips are provocative and if they can be linked with the violence that erupted. If such links are established, the law will take its course,” a senior police officer told TOI.

The Shikrapur police had registered an offence against 250 men on Wednesday for damaging and stone pelting following a complaint by a 55-year-old woman from Shirur. They invoked provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

According to the woman‘s complaint, “a group of 250 men with saffron flags raising slogans about Milind bhau and Bhide guruji charged at the gathering at Sanaswadi chowk near the memorial on January 1 and damaged vehicles”.

Violence erupted in Koregaon Bhima and the adjoining villages on Monday during the commemoration of the 200th year of battle between Bajirao Peshwa II and the British forces also comprising dalit, Marathas, Muslims and Indian Jew soldiers. A large number of people had gathered at the memorial on Monday to mark the occasion when violence broke out.

When TOI attempted to reach Ekbote on his cellphone, he was unavailable. On Thursday Samast issued a statement which said, “The violence that took place on January 1 at Koregaon Bhima was saddening. We condemn the violence.”

It also stated that Ekbote had not left Pune for the last 15 days owing to rituals at his home and at the residence of his relatives.

“Ekbote has no connection whatsoever with the violence and the Aghadi condemns the same,” the statement read. “People are trying to create a rift in society by making false allegations,” it added.

It also stated, “Ekbote has police protection as there are threats to his life. Police officers can cross check the fact that if he had left Pune city or not.”

Bhide, who lives in Sangli, was not reachable as he does not use a phone.

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