Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote and his aides were allegedly attacked by a group of nearly 50 people at a temple in Zendewadi following a minor dispute on Tuesday night.
Ekbote has lodged a complaint in this case at the Saswad police station. Police have booked Pandit Modak, Vivek Modak, Nikhil Darekar and 50 others under sections 143, 147, 149, 323, 504, 506, 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to charges of unlawful assembly, rioting and criminal intimidation among others, and sections of the Bombay Police Act.
The incident took place at a Hanuman temple in Zendewadi, where Ekbote had gone to attend a religious functions on Tuesday. As per the complaint filed by Ekbote, while he was delivering a sermon at the temple, Modak intervened suddenly and verbally abused him.
Later, a group of about 50 people allegedly thrashed Ekbote and his aides as per the instructions of one of the accused, Pandit Modak. One of them allegedly attacked Ekbote’s aide Abhishekh Waghmode with a knife. Police later brought the situation under control. Pandit Modak is part of the ‘gauraksha’ movement and runs a gaushala in Wadaki area, said police. Modak used to work with Ekbote in the past but the two have had differences as the Hindutva leader is believed to have objected to the way Pandit’s gaushala functioned. According to police, the attack on Ekbote was a fall-out of his differences with Modak.
In his complaint, Ekbote stated, “A month ago, objectionable content regarding ‘gauraksha’ was posted on Facebook. I posted my reaction to it, urging for patience… because of it, Pandit Modak was angry with me. So. he instigated the group to attack us”.
Last year, Ekbote, the leader of Samasta Hindu Aghadi, was booked on charges of instigating the violence that broke out at Koregaon Bhima on January 1. He was arrested in March but released on bail months later.