Dalits caned, detained by police for trying to disrupt rightwing leader Sambhaji Bhide’s function in Maharashtra

Police resorted to caning and detained 30 after Dalit groups tried to disrupt a public meeting of controversial rightwing leader Sambhaji Bhide at Jalna in Marathwada area of central Maharashtra on Sunday.

Bhide is one of the accused in Bhima Koregaon violence case and Dalit organisations have been demanding his arrest in connection with the case.

Bhide had been touring various parts of Maharashtra to raise funds for his ambitious project —   a 1200 kg golden throne at Shivaji memorial at Raigad fort. After the announcement of an event at Jalna a couple of weeks back, where Bhide was to deliver a lecture, organisations such as 

Sambhaji Brigade, Anyay Pratikar Dal, Bharip and Panthers’ Sena wrote to the district administration requesting it to enforce a ban on his entry to the district. With the administration seemingly dragging its feet in the matter, members of these organisations gathered at the venue on Sunday, hurling eggs and shouting slogans against Bhide.

Even as a sizeable police contingent tried to whisk away the protesters from the Arya Samaj Mandir, the venue of protest in the Badi Sadak area of the city, some members of  Bhide’s Shiv Pratishthan tried to confront the protesters, resulting in a clash between them. The police then had to resort to a mild lathi charge before detaining around 30 workers belonging to different organisations, an officer at Sadar police station in Jalna said.

Bhide was also supposed to inaugurate three temples in the city. He left for Aurangabad in the afternoon after attending all the scheduled programs, the officer added.

What sparked the protest

Bhide had been touring various parts of Maharashtra to raise funds for his ambitious project —   a 1200 kg golden throne at Shivaji memorial at Raigad fort. Dalit organisations have been demanding his arrest in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence.

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