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Maharashtra government dropped three rioting cases against Bhide: RTI response

Speaking during the state Budget session, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that there wasn’t any direct evidence of Bhide’s involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence that killed one person.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
October 2, 2018 4:59:54 am
Rioting cases were registered against Sambhaji Bhide while protesting against the screening of Bollywood movie Jodha Akbar. (File)

Three cases of rioting registered in 2008 against Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan chief Sambhaji Bhide while protesting against the screening of Bollywood movie Jodha Akbar were withdrawn, the Maharashtra government has said while responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query.

Meanwhile, speaking during the state Budget session, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that there wasn’t any direct evidence of Bhide’s involvement in the Bhima Koregaon violence that killed one person. In the FIR registered by the Pune rural police, Bhide continues to be an accused. In 2008, the Sangli police had registered three cases against Bhide and his followers who protested outside local movie halls against the screening of the Bollywood period drama, Jodha Akbar – Crime Record (CR) no. 32/08 – for unlawful assembly outside a movie theatre, defying the order issued by the district collector. Bhide and his followers were also booked for damaging the theatre’s property by tearing off the movie posters.

The second case, CR no. 35/08, was registered against Bhide and others for deterring a public servant from performing his duties, pelting stones on police and private vehicles thereby causing damages worth Rs 7,000.

The third case registered against Bhide and 92 others under CR number 38/08 was under various sections of the IPC for causing damage to public and private properties, threat, pelting stones on policemen and unlawful assembly. Mumbai-based RTI activist Shakeel Shaikh, who sought the details under RTI, told The Indian Express that other than the above mentioned three cases, the Maharashtra government had also withdrawn three more cases registered against Bhide.

“While two cases were in connection with the Mirja-Sangli riots of 2008 registered by the Sangli police, the details of the third is unknown,” Shakeel said. The Miraj-Sangli broke out over an arch sporting a poster depicting the slaying of Afzal Khan.

Meanwhile, a coalition of 38 organisations on Monday condemned the dropping of charges in six different rioting cases against right-wing activist Sambhaji Bhide. Shiraz Prabhu, attached with Kashtakari Sanghatna, said the charges being dropped by the police against Bhide in six cases is indicative of “foul play”. Role of Bhide, however, continues to remain under investigation in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

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