Two Maharashtrian leaders – Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote – have been reported to be top accused in violence that brought Mumbai to a halt on Tuesday. The two pro-Hindutva leaders enjoy a sizeable following across Maharashtra, especially among the youth. While Sambhaji is a 85-year-old leader of ‘Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan’, Ekbote comes from ‘Samast Hindu Aghadi’. Several Dalit leaders, including Bharatiya Republican Party, Bahujan Mahasangh president Prakash Ambedkar, accused the two leaders of hatching a conspiracy which led to death of a 30-year-old man. Later, an FIR was registered against Bhide and Ekbote at Pimpri police station. The police complaint was lodged by social worker Anita Ravindra Salve (39), a member of Bahujan Republican Socialist Party.
Who is Sambhaji Bhide?
Sabhaji Bhide is a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist. Bhide is the founder president of the Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, an outfit with sizeable clout in Sangli, Satara, and Kolhapur districts of Western Maharashtra. At the time of 2014 general election, PM Modi had addressed a rally in Sangli and said that Bhide had been an inspiration from him. Both Modi and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, top leaders of the ruling alliance in the state, were seen seeking the blessings of Bhide at the time of elections. Bhide is fondly known as Guruji among his followers. The 85-year-old leader is an ardent follower of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Recently, it was reported that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis halted his helicopter convoy to meet Bhide.
Who is Milind Ekbote
Ekbote, the chief of Samast Hindu Aghadi, has faced several cases of breach of preventive orders. Members of SHA are also alleged to have intercepted hundreds of vehicles carrying cows. On Tuesday, Ekbote condemned violence in Koregaon-Bhima. He also claimed the case against him was completely false. The leader added that people were being “deliberately misled to create communal tension”.
Latest news of Mumbai Bandh
– Maharashtra remained on edge after the anniversary of a battle fought 200 years ago brought to fore simmering caste tensions. Several organisations have called for a statewide bandh called to protest the state government’s alleged failure to stop violence witnessed stray protest by Dalits.
– Earlier in the morning, some Dalit protesters tried to block tracks at the Thane railway. However, they have chased away soon and the traffic on the Central Railway line remained uninterrupted, said a railway official.
– Protesters also tried to block rail traffic on the Western line in suburban Goregaon, said a police official.
– Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) leader and Dr B R Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar have called for Maharashtra bandh today to protest the state government’s “failure” to stop the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district two days ago.
– Maharashtra Democratic Front, Maharashtra Left Front and some 250 other organisations have supported the call for shutdown.