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Sambhaji Bhide demands proper inquiry in Bhima Koregaon violence

Controversial right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide, who is accused of instigating violence against dalit community in Pune district, today appealed for a thorough inquiry into the matter.

Bhide (85), who heads Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, today met with Sangli district collector along with thousands of his supporters and demanded withdrawal of charges against him. A day after the Bhima Koregaon violence on January 2, Pimpri Police in Pune district filed a case against Bhide and others under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and under various sections of the IPC including attempt to murder as one person was killed in the caste clashes.

In his letter to media, Bhide stated that his name was being deliberately linked with the violence in Pune district. “It is a ‘banav’ (false) that I was present at the riot site in Pune district and was also responsible for it. Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar has levelled allegations of my involvement in inciting the violence. There should be a thorough investigation into this matter,” Bhide stated. He said perpetrators of the violence should face a stern action. Bhide has issued his letter from the letter pad of his outfit asserting that his work is for awakening the nationalism among Hindus.

Bhide is known among his followers as ‘Bhide Guruji’. He is a staunch right-wing Hindu activist and an ardent admirer of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He has a sizable following in western Maharashtra. A gold medallist in Chemistry, Bhide has worked as a professor in Pune-based Sir Parshuram College. A former RSS member, Bhide founded the Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, which is mostly active in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts in western Maharashtra.

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