Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, accused of instigating violence near Koregaon Bhima on January 1, has been remanded in judicial custody at Yerawada jail for 14 days by a court here on Wednesday.
Ekbote was produced in the court by the Pune Rural Police on Wednesday as his police custody had lapsed. Police had strengthened security arrangements on the court premises today after three men were arrested on Monday for attempting to throw ink on Ekbote outside the Shivajinagar court.
Samasta Hindu Aghadi chief Ekbote (60) was arrested from his home in Pune on March 14 after the Supreme Court rejected his application for an anticipatory bail.
Ekbote has been accused of instigating violent clashes that had broken out between Dalit and Maratha groups on January 1 when thousands of Dalits had gathered in Perne to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. At least one person was killed, several others were injured and property worth crores was destroyed during the violence.
On January 2, activist Anita Salve filed an FIR against Ekbote and another Hindutva leader Manohar, alias Sambhaji Bhide, at Pimpri police station. On January 3, activist Sushma Andhare lodged another complaint against the two leaders at Yerawada police station. Both complaints were transferred to the Pune Rural Police.
Police claim to have evidence against Ekbote, who had held a press conference on December 30 opposing the gathering of Dalits at the Jaystambh in Perne on January 1. The leader had also submitted a letter to the district collector on December 29, saying that government facilities should not be provided for the programme at Jaystambh on January 1. Police said Ekbote had also conducted a “suspicious” meeting at Hotel Sonai in Koregaon Bhima area on December 30. Meanwhile, police have maintained that they did not have sufficient evidence against Bhide, while stating that probe against him was on.