New Delhi: One of the main accused of Bhima Koregaon violence, Manohar alias Sambhaji Bhide, was recommended by Maharashtra government for a Padma Shri award in 2015, an RTI report received by Hindustan Times revealed. The violence had caused a statewide Bandh when violence got erupted on January 1, as the Dalit community was commemorating the 200th-anniversary where 22 Mahar soldiers died in a historical battle.
According to the relevant documents obtained by HT from the state government’s protocol department under the Right To Information Act, the name of 84-year-old Bhide was recommended by a high-power committee, comprising of 10 senior ministers.
The controversial Bhide’s name was mentioned in the FIR along with Milind Ekbote, another right-wing prime accused of initiating violence against Dalits. The founder of an outfit, Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, and a former RSS worker, Bhide also faces charges of sparking communal riots in Miraj-Sangli in Sangli district of Maharashtra. Bhide’s name was also in national headlines when the organisation had ransacked theatres in protest of movie Jodha Akbar in 2008.
Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s grandson condemning the government’s decision said that it was originated from ‘intellectual bankruptcy’.