Opposition parties have demanded stern action against pro-Hindutva leaders, Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan and Milind Ekbote of Samast Hindu Aghadi responsible for instigating violence during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in Pune. Even though an FIR was filed against both these leaders at Pimpri police station but they are yet to be arrested. Thus questions are being raised whether BJP government is going soft against Bhide and Ekbote as they are associated with Hindutva outfits? After the BJP government came to power at the centre, Hindutva groups have strengthened across the country. There was also debate about rising intolerance in the nation. Complaint was filed against Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and student leader from JNU, Umar Khalid to divert attention from the Bhide and Ekbote’s involvement in Bhima Koregaon violence incident. Since Bhide is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is a possibility that he may roam scot free despite committing the crime. Thus, BJP is indulging in divisive politics and attempting to consolidate Hindu vote bank ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
When AV spoke to JD(U) MLA Kapil Patil, he said that the government is trying to shield Bhide and Ekbote. He also stated, “Instead of arresting Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, the government is praising them. On the other hand, the government is trying to suppress youth’s voice by denying permission to Jignesh Mevani’s summit. Both Bhide and Ekbote are creating a rift in the society by instigating violence and steps must be taken to curb it. People have realised that right wing outfits have become bold after Modi government has come to power. If the government fails to act against Bhide and Ekbote, then we will give a befitting reply to them.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Sangli to meet Bhide in the run-up to the 2014 General Election. Modi had then said that he had come to meet Guruji not on his request but on his order.
Amar Sable, BJP MP said, “The government and police are performing their duties amicably. FIR has already being filed against Bhide and Ekbote and action will be taken against them. It is unjustified to drag PM Modi’s name in this issue and he is not close to Bhide.”
Praniti Shinde, Congress MLA said, “First of all, I would like to condemn the Bhima Koregaon violence incident and steps must be taken to prevent it. BJP is responsible for fuelling communal tensions in the country. I also endorse statements made by Rahul Gandhi and Ashok Chavan pertaining to Bhima Koregaon violence incident.” Twelve cases of rioting, trespassing, criminal intimidations and attempts to spread hatred between two communities have been registered against Ekbote.
Vidya Chavan, NCP MLA said, “Jignesh Mevani had not made any provocative statement, despite this, the government had denied permission for his summit. Both Bhide and Ekbote had played a vital role in inciting violence at Bhima Koregaon. No action will be taken against them as they belong to pro Hindutva outfits. We will hold demonstrations if the government fails to arrest them.”