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Milind Ekbote is a Hindu nationalist leader from Shivaji Nagar, Pune, in Maharashtra. He is the founder of Hindu Ekta Manch and leader of Samasta Hindu Aghadi, a cow vigilante group.
He was also the President of Dharmaveer Sambhaji Maharaj Pratishthan and the founder of Shiv Pratap Bhoomi Mukti Andolan.
Politically, he has been associated with both the Shiv Sena and the BJP as a corporater but strayed away from these parties after he was denied an election ticket in 2002.
Over the years, he has enjoyed popularity across Maharashtra by projecting himself as a ‘gaurakshak’ and leading annual protests against Valentine’s Day. Ekbote has 12 cases of rioting, trespassing, criminal intimidation, and attempts to spread enmity between two communities against him. According to a report in Mumbai Mirror, Ekbote was convicted in five of these cases.
An extremely casteist leader, Ekbote assembles groups of Hindu Youth in the Pune and Satara Districts and recites to them (distorted) stories from ‘Hindu History’ about Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Sambhaji Maharaj, Swatantryaveer Savarkar. He constructs these stories in such a way that they are bound to incite the listener against the Muslim and Dalit communities and give rise to communal tensions.
According to Sabrang, he delivered an inciteful speech in 2001 to a crowd near the Sorati Somnath Temple, after which the crowd demolished a Muslim cemetery and Idgah and set fire to Muslim shops and houses.
He instigated mobs against the Afzal Khan Memorial Trust in Pratapgarh. He had also said that the Subhansha Dargah, situated in the center of Shukrawar Peth, must be demolished as it causes an inconvenience to the passing travellers and traffic.
A list of cases against Ekbote can be viewed here.
On 2 January 2018, a First Information Report was filed against Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhinde for inciting violence against Dalits in Bhima Koregaon, Maharashtra, who had gathered to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. A 16-year-old boy was killed in the violence.
Ekbote was booked under IPC sections 307, 143, 148, 149, and 295, which amount to an attempt to murder and rioting, among other offences. He was arrested in March 2018 but was later released on bail.
In March 2021, he was booked for hurting religious sentiments and defamation of Muslim community members for calling a locality in Pune “Mini Pakistan” in a video clip uploaded on social media.