ATS custody of 3 accused arrested with arms and explosives extended till Aug 28

A court here today extended till August 28 the police custody of three suspected members of a right-wing group, who were arrested for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to carry out blasts in Maharashtra, reports PTI.

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

Vaibhav Raut (40), who used to run a pro-cow protection outfit, was arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Maharashtra police on August 10 from Nallasopara near Mumbai.

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

It was followed by arrests of Sharad Kalaskar (25) from Palghar district and Sudhanva Gondhalekar (39) from Pune.

The arrested accused were produced before judge Vinod Padalkar after their police remand ended today.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

The ATS told the court that it has seized arms and explosives from the house of one Prasad Deshpande at Natepute village in Malshiras tehsil of Solapur district, along with some letters.

These letters, as well as other documents and messages exchanged through mobile phones by the accused contained some code words which the ATS wanted to probe, the prosecution said.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut, other Gau Rakshaks were involved in extortion in the guise of cow protection: Extortion money was used to fund purchase of arms

The defence lawyer argued that there was no need for further ATS custody of the accused as examination of seized evidence was the job of forensic experts.

However, the prosecution maintained that the probe will come to a halt without further custodial interrogation.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

While the ATS wanted a 15-day extension to the custody period, the court extended the accused’s police remand till August 28.

After the arrests, the ATS had claimed that it had seized a huge cache of explosive materials and country-made firearms during raids at various places in the state.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

Alleging that the trio were planning to carry out blasts in the state ahead of Independence Day and Bakri-Eid festival, the ATS had said it would also probe if the accused had any connection with the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

The trio have been booked under terror-related provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Source: PTI

Mastermind of the Gauri Lankesh, MM Kalburgi murders could be hiding in Mumbai: SIT

For the last 5-6 years, a clandestine unnamed group of radical Hindutva elements has recruited around 60 men for the purpose of making bombs, assembling weapons and creating communal unrest and assasinations in Karnataka and Maharashtra, reports The News Minute (TNM).

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing Gauri Lankesh’s murder has uncovered this information after questioning one of the prime suspects Amol Kale arrested for the murder of Gauri Lankesh, says a TNM report.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh Murder Accused Ganesh Miskin Confesses To Killing Kalburgi

Kale was associated with the Sanatan Sanstha and other far-right Hindu organisations including the Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti an offshoot of the Sanstha.

On Sunday, a team of SIT sleuths took off for Mumbai to look for the alleged mastermind – the man they believe conceptualized the establishment of an organised, covert, radical Hindutva group, which includes planners, executors and logistics-handlers for a series of murders of rationalists and progressive writers across the country.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

“We believe that the mastermind of Gauri Lankesh murder, Nihal alias Dada, may be in Mumbai. There is also suspicion that he may be a government servant. Nihal is also an alias, his real name may be different and the SIT is trying to track him down. He is the one who can lead us to the murder weapon,” a source told TNM.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

When the SIT arrested accused Amol Kale earlier this year, the investigators learnt that among the people he had recruited were the same men arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Mumbai’s Nalasopara.

It was the information that SIT passed on to ATS, which was used to raid the hideouts of several members of Hindu Janajagruthi Samiti (HJS).

Also Read: Hardliners trying to hoodwink cops, claim bombs were for Maratha agitation

The ATS seized a cache of materials and explosives used to make bombs and a huge lot of weapons and ammunition.

SIT sources revealed that of the 60 members recruited by Amol Kale and Nihal, 22 of them were from Karnataka who were being trained in the use of guns to kill rationalists and anti-Hindu voices, reports

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

“Gauri’s killer was one of these 22 men,” the SIT source said. Investigations have revealed that these youth were also trained in creating communal hatred and also blowing up IEDs.

Details of their training were revealed after the arrest of the 12th accused in the case, Bharat Khurne (37), in Belagavi on August 9. Khurne who owned two licensed weapons allegedly trained these men at his vegetable farm in Khanapur.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Sources revealed that the group also carried out clandestine activities including recruiting and training men belonging to radical Hindutva outfits. These covert operations were centred around Maharashtra and Goa.

Three of the 12 persons arrested by the SIT in connection with Gauri Lankesh’s murder; Parashuram Waghmore, Ganesh Miskin and Amit Baddi, have a history of inciting communal violence and were allegedly trained by Khurne in firing guns.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

“Keeping the operations secret was the main objective of our group. A new recruit would never be given phone numbers of any person in the group. Telephonic conversations took place over public phones. Only when the new recruit was initiated into the group and the members were sure of trusting him, one cellphone was given to the recruit. He had to use it to contact his point person and use his code name only and not his real name. This was done to ensure that other members did not know his identity. Everyone maintained that level of secrecy,” Sujeet Kumar’s statement to the SIT says.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha has 22 different outfits, registered in different States under different names

Upon Sujeet Kumar’s arrest in May, the SIT had searched his house in Udupi and found 22 cellphones, which the SIT believes were given to the group’s men.

SIT sources also revealed that they suspect a connection between the killers of rationalist Govind Pansare in Maharashtra and the HJS activists arrested in Mumbai on Friday last week.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha wants to set up a Saffron Army of 2000 trained killers and shooters for terrorist activity

“Exactly a year after the suspect in Govind Pansare’s case, Sameer Gaikwad, was released on bail, Gauri Lankesh was killed. The forensic evidence states that rationalist MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh were killed by the same weapon. CID’s investigation had also revealed that there was a possible connection between the Kalburgi and Pansare murders. It is an angle the SIT is looking into,” the source said.

Also Read: Arrested for possession of explosives, Vaibhav Raut was an active member of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and a vociferous Gau-Rakshak

The Maharashtra CID today officially confirmed that the same set of killers involved in the Gauri Lankesh murder were also involved in the murder of scholar and rationalist M M Kalburgi.

“Yes, we have got certain leads provided to us by the Special Investigation Team. It will be premature to share the details. We cannot even say how many are involved.  All we can say at this juncture is that the leads are very credible,” IGP, Maharashtra CID, K S R Charan Reddy told news agency PTI.

Accused in Gauri Lankesh Murder, Ganesh Miskin Confesses Involvement in Kalburgi Murder

New Delhi: Confirming speculation that the same group of people were behind the assassinations of rationalists and anti-Hindutva writers, one of the suspects arrested in the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh has confessed to the SIT that he was also involved in the murder of professor M.M. Kalburgi, claims a report in The Wire.

Also Read: Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

According to a Bangalore Mirror report, Ganesh Miskin, who was arrested for ferrying suspected Lankesh shooter Parashuram Waghmare to her home, confessed he was one of the people who arrived at Kalburgi’s home and knocked on the door to shoot him dead.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) is probing Lankesh’s murder, while the CID is investigating the killing of Kalburgi.

The SIT had already established that the same gun was used for both the assassinations.

Kalburgi was shot dead at his residence on August 30, 2015, while Lankesh was also killed at her doorstep on September 5, 2017, reports The Wire.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners Raut, Gondhalekar and Kalaskar planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

According to Bangalore Mirror, the SIT probe has found that the mastermind behind Lankesh’s killing, Amol Kale, was also one of the key players in the killing of Kalburgi.

Earlier this week, a formal report was forwarded by the SIT to the CID on the link between the two murders and also the statements of Miskin and three others.

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

While Miskin has confessed to his presence at the Kalburgi crime scene, he claimed he was not the shooter.

A report in The Hindu quoted CID officials as saying, “Statements by any suspects before the police were of little value and they had to be corroborated with material and technical evidence to be able to pin them down.”

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Of the 12 suspects arrested in the Lankesh killing, several belong to extremist groups Hindu Janajagruti Samithi (HJS) or Sanatan Sanstha.

Members of these two organisations have also been accused in the murders of communist Govind Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, in addition to Lankesh and Kalburgi. Miskin’s confession seems to have further corroborated these links.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

According to a report in The News Minute, Miskin told investigators that mastermind Kale and Amit Degwekar, the latter of whom was living in a HJS ashram in Goa, were also involved in murders which were carried out in Maharashtra.

Probing these links, the SIT is expected to soon arrest three more members in Maharashtra.

With the arrest of Hindutva Terrorist Vaibhav Raut, Butchers, Meat-traders breathe easy in Nala Sopara

Nalasopara has heaved a big sigh of relief after the arrest of suspected Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut, who had allegedly terrorized his neighbourhood with his activities, reports Mid-day.

Also Read: Hindutva hardliners had planned to blow up 6 theaters, Ganapati mandaps in Maharashtra

According to the police, Raut, who called himself a gau rakshak, has been involved in a series of attacks on butchers in the area every Bakri-eid.

The ‘gau rakshak’ had terrorised the area with his activities, carrying out illegal raids on meat shops and creating communal tension in the area, say police

Raut allegedly tried to create communal tension, particularly in the neighbouring Sopara village, by harassing locals and carrying out illegal raids on mutton and beef shops.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut, other Gau Rakshaks were involved in extortion in the guise of cow protection: Extortion money was used to fund purchase of arms

Every year, the police would extern him from the area for short periods, by serving him notices under section 144 of the Mumbai Police Act.

Raut, however, would stay put by bringing in political influence in the name of cow protection, said an officer, adding that even the police will breathe easy after his arrest.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

Living in terror
Sopara village’s Muslim community, especially the butchers, lived in fear and insecurity due to Raut’s activities — even when beef hadn’t been banned by the government, he would go around conducting ‘raids’ on meat shops and harassing the owners, said a local, Anis Qureshi.

Also Read: 150 pistols, 100 bombs, 3000 bullets were on the shopping list of arrested hardliners

Speaking to Mid-day, he added, “In 2014, Raut forcibly stopped my tempo in his area and assaulted the driver.

The driver called me and I went to the spot, but Raut and his colleague abused and assaulted me too, saying I was smuggling cow meat.

They forcibly took me and my tempo to Nalasopara police station.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha has 22 different outfits, registered in different States under different names

I have never carried or supplied cow meat; after I showed all the relevant documents to the cops, they let me go and registered a case against Raut and his colleague.

“Large numbers of Muslims as well as gau rakshaks had gathered outside the police station that day… he had succeeded in creating communal tension; clashes could have erupted anytime. Huge police bandobast was then deployed in the area, for the first time in the history of Nalasopara.”

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha wants to set up a Saffron Army of 2000 trained killers and shooters for terrorist activity

Policespeak
“There are two cases of rioting and one of not following the district collector’s order registered against Raut at Nalasopara police station. Since 2015, we have been serving him notices to leave the area during Bakri-eid to maintain law and order there,” said Datta Totewar, SDPO, Nalasopara Division of Palghar district.

Source: Mid-day

Right-wing hardliners wanted to set up a ‘saffron army’ of 2000 mercenaries equipped with weapons and bombs

Bengaluru: Some indoctrinated and trained right-wing hardliners in Maharashtra, who are members of organisations that are reportedly linked to Goa-based ‘Sanatan Sanstha’, were reportedly working towards establishing a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ by 2023 with a ‘saffron army’ when the ATS blew the lid off their alleged conspiracy.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut, other Gau Rakshaks were involved in extortion in the guise of cow protection: Extortion money was used to fund purchase of arms

The aim was to set up a force of about 2000 ‘killers’ in groups of 4-6, armed with weapons and bombs and get them to span across the country.

With that aim in mind, the hardliners were trying to set up a manufacturing unit to manufacture pistols and bombs on a mass scale.

Also Read: 35-40 bombs could be manufactured with explosives seized from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut residence and office

Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa were identified as recruiting grounds for the group, with the interior rural areas of Maharashtra serving as the training grounds for the army.

An all-out attack by the hardliners would have meant a disaster for the BJP-led government in the state on the eve of Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and Lok Sabha elections next year, reports the Deccan Chronicle.

Also Read: Arrested for possession of explosives, Vaibhav Raut was an active member of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and a vociferous Gau-Rakshak

“Sir, please alert the Maharashtra (Anti Terrorist Squad) before it is too late” – a ‘Most Urgent’ communiqué from the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Karnataka to Maharashtra ATS literally saved the day for the state and helped the police unearth the ‘covert’ operation.

The “inputs” from the Karnataka SIT had come from the accused in the journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh murder case and the diary of Amol Kale (a key accused in the case).

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killers

The contents of the diary were shared at the “highest level” in Maharashtra and the immediate follow-up action by the ATS led to the arrest of three right-wing hardliners – Vaibhav Raut, a member of the Hindu Govansh Raksha Samiti, Sudhanwa Gondhalekar, who is a member of the Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan headed by Sambhaji Bhide, and Sharad Kasalkar from Nala Sopara and Satara and recovery of huge cache of firearms, explosives and incriminating literature.

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

During the raids the ATS reportedly recovered a deadly cache of contraband firearms – 11 country made pistols with magazines, one air gun, 10 pistol barrels, six pistol magazines, six incomplete pistols, three partially made magazines, seven partially made pistol slides, several half-made parts of illicit firearms from the accused.

“The ATS has unearthed an illicit manufacturing and assembling unit of arms and explosives, which was being assembled for a major attack in Maharashtra. The 7.65 mm country-made pistol, which was used to kill Gauri Lankesh may be part of the cache of illegal firearms that was seized by the ATS,” said an official source on condition of anonymity.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Recovery of the killer weapon will help the SIT in cracking the case.

The team has so far arrested 12 accused in the sensational murder case. Deccan Chronicle in 2008 had reported about the alleged plans of the extreme right-wing group in Karnataka to raise a pan India ‘army’ – ‘Bhayotpadana Nigraha Sena’ – comprising of nationalist Hindu youth in the age group of 18 and 30 years, who would be trained by former army and police officers, to purge the country of Islamic jehadi outfits.

Karnataka and Maharashtra were designated fields of operation for the recruitment and training of hardliners.

with inputs from Deccan Chronicle

Was an Undercover Killer linked to a Goa-based Far-Right Extremist Outfit Contracted to Kill Fr Bismarque Dias by the Builder Mafia?

Sleuths from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of writer-activist Gauri Lankesh could have accidentally stumbled upon some evidence that could throw light on the sudden, “accidental death by drowning” of Goan social activist Fr Bismarque Dias.

According to a Times of India report, the Crime Branch of the Goa police had filed a closure report in the death of social activist, Bismarque Dias from St Estevam, citing ‘mistake of facts’.

In April 2017, the death of the activist was registered as murder on the directive of the High Court of Bombay at Goa. The crime branch in its closure report, said that on the basis of scientific, forensic, and circumstantial evidence, it can be clearly concluded that it (Dias’ death) was accidental death and no foul play could be suspected.

However, days before his body was spotted floating in Goa’s Mandovi river on November 5, 2015, Father Bismarque Dias had circulated a video naming builders, real estate agents and politicians, and said they should be held responsible if he died suddenly.

Differences with the Goa church over sale of land to a private firm had seen Dias being disrobed, but he remained ‘Father’ for many of Goa’s Catholics.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

In a new twist to the Bismarque murder-accidental death case, according to SIT sources who have arrested 3-4 persons closely linked to the Ponda-based outfit Sanatan Sanstha, a couple of  individuals associated with the extremist outfit could have been contracted by the Builder Mafia in Goa to get rid of Fr Bismarque, who was becoming a thorn in their side.

Continuous interrogation of the arrested accused Amol Kale alias Bhaisab (39) an activist of the HJS from Maharashtra, Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep (39) a Sanatan Sanstha activist and resident of Goa and Manohar Edave (28) a resident of Vijayapura in Karnataka have revealed details, which the SIT is keeping close to it’s chest as it would hamper further investigations.

However, SIT sources said the arrested persons would do “jobs” on a freelance basis to collect funds for their main activity, which was to eliminate what they termed anti-Hindu voices across the country. The arrested persons above have admitted to the SIT to having done one freelance “job” in Goa, involving an activist who was targeted by the land mafia, but more details are not available at the time of filing this story.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers

One such job was possibly the murder of Fr Bismarque at the behest of the Goa Builder Lobby by infiltrating the activist-priest’s personal network with an undercover Sanatan Sanstha member who incapacitated the priest (who had already consumed a few drinks) and then forcibly drowned him or caused him to drown, making the death look like a case of accidental drowning.

According to news website NewsClick.in, investigations into the assassination of rationalist and anti-Hindutva voices — Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh — has produced clear evidence in the form of diaries, documents, gun forensics, and statements of participants, that a five state network of like-minded hardcore extremist Hindutva supporters exists which has been actively planning the physical elimination of many other opponents of their regressive, medieval ideology.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The shadowy leaders of at least two known Hindu extremist groups, the Sanatan Sanstha (SS) and its splinter Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) were the fulcrum of the inter-state terror group, which specialized in secret assassinations of anti-Hindu voices.

This network drew upon killers from two outfits the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. The Sanatan Sanstha’s bank accounts were used to receive funds, which were then withdrawn in cash and used to pay the killers for their expenses.

Also Read: Main accused in Gauri Lankesh murder confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder case of journalist Gauri Lankesh seized two bikes used by the accused to execute the murder.

SIT team along with police team led by CPI Raju seized two bikes from a house in Kunigal. SIT revealed that one of the accused, HL Suresh confessed of about having two bikes in a house at Kunigal.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Prominent activists from Goa last week demanded a ban on the Sanathan Sanstha, calling the right-wing outfit an “extra-constitutional authority” and a “cancer” whose spread should be stopped, reports NDTV.

The latest catalyst for the demand came after inputs of a threat to the life of progressive writer Damodar Mauzo. A special investigation team (SIT) of the Karnataka police, which is probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last September, had told the Goa police about the threat to Mr Mauzo’s life.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

The Goa-based right-wing organisation, which has a pan-India presence, however, maintained that the allegations were “baseless”, claiming to have worked in the field of “spirituality” to spread “religious wisdom” about Hinduism.

Mauzo told PTI that the organisation was a “cancer” which should be stopped from spreading in Goa. He also accused the Goa government of going soft on the extremist outfit.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

Stressing on the need for a ban on the Sanstha, Prashant Naik, a social activist, told PTI that legal luminaries should be roped in by the state government to place before the court the need for a ban. “We lost an ‘open-and-shut’ 2009 Margao blast case due to poor legal support during the trial,” he pointed out.

Two men, including one allegedly from the Sanatan Sanstha, had died in 2009 while they were transporting explosives to be reportedly planted in a crowded area in Margao. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had charge-sheeted half-a- dozen activists of the Sanstha, but the accused were acquitted by a local court due to lack of evidence.

Also Read: Goa Govt protecting murderers, going soft on Sanatan Sanstha: Mauzo

“The way the Sanatan Sanstha is going about spreading hatred in the society, it should be banned,” Mr Naik added.

The demand echoed in state Congress president Girish Chodankar. “The Sanatan Sanstha or any organisation that behaves like an extra-constitutional authority should be banned,” he said, highlighting that it had been named in the murder of progressive intellectuals like M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh.

What Chodankar forgot was the possible link of the Sanstha in the “accidental death by drowning” of the Goan activist-priest Bismarque Dias.

“When its name figures in all these murder cases, there is no reason why it should be allowed to continue functioning,” the Congress leader had said calling for a ban on the outfit.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Prominent institutions of Goa have demanded a ban on the Sanstha including the Konkani Bhasha Mandal (KBM) — the state’s leading literary institution.

Referring to the threat to Mauzo’s life, the KBM president, Chetan Acharya, said it was the first time that a writer had been threatened in the coastal state.

“Goa is known for its peaceful co-existence and we don’t want institutions like the Sanatan Sanstha which work like extra-constitutional bodies,” Mr Acharya said. “We strongly demand a ban on it so that it can’t spread hatred in Goa any further.”

However, when contacted, the Sanstha’s spokesperson, Chetan Rajhans, refuted the allegations, claiming that there was no threat to Mr Mauzo’s life, at least from his organisation. “Is there any official confirmation to the claims that his life is threatened due to the Sanatan Sanstha?” he asked.

with inputs from PTI, NDTV and Times of India

Shoot her in the head as it was done in Kalburgi murder to ensure a direct hit, Gauri Lankesh killer taught during training

August 2, 2018: During his training in the usage of guns under the tutelage of members of a radical extremist Hindutva group in a forest near Belgaum on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border, 26-year-old Parashuram Waghmare, who is accused of shooting journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017, was told by at least one person to “shoot her in the head’’ like they had done while shooting Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi, the Indian Express reports.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

According to the Indian Express this revelation by Waghmare, the alleged shooter in the Lankesh case, has provided the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka police an inkling that at least one of the persons involved in training Waghmare was also involved in the unsolved murder of Kalburgi on August 30, 2015.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

The finding that some of Waghmare’s trainers were directly involved in the Kalburgi murder adds to forensic findings that a common group of assassins was involved in the two shootings.

A report from the Karnataka state forensic science laboratory of the analysis of ballistic evidence in the two cases — presented with a preliminary chargesheet filed by the SIT on May 30 in the Lankesh case — states that Kalburgi and Lankesh were killed with the exact same 7.65 mm country-made gun, reports Indian Express.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

Kalburgi was killed at the doorstep of his Dharwad home by an unidentified gunman, who shot him in the head at almost point blank range after his wife opened the door to a stranger seeking to meet the scholar.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

A report from the Karnataka state forensic science laboratory of the analysis of ballistic evidence in the two cases — presented with a preliminary chargesheet filed by the SIT on May 30 in the Lankesh case — states that Kalburgi and Lankesh were killed with the exact same 7.65 mm country-made gun.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Kalburgi was killed at the doorstep of his Dharwad home by an unidentified gunman, who shot him in the head at almost point blank range after his wife opened the door to a stranger seeking to meet the scholar says the Indian Express report.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

Lankesh was killed after four bullets were fired at her by a gunman while she was opening the gate to her home after returning from work on the evening of September 5, 2017. The SIT has identified Waghmare as the man who arrived wearing a helmet to shoot the journalist while his accomplice, identified as Ganesh Miskin, 27, waited on a motorcycle a few yards away.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

The SIT probe has found that Waghmare trained in the usage of firearms with Miskin, who hails from Hubbali. The others allegedly involved in the training were Rajesh Bangera, 50, a government employee and owner of two licensed pistols, who served as the main arms trainer for youths recruited by the Hindutva group, and Amol Kale, 37, a former Pune coordinator of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti who led the operations of the secret group.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

SIT sources said that Waghmare revealed during questioning that he was told during his training to “shoot in the head” as it was done in the Kalburgi murder to ensure a clean hit.

In remand applications since the arrest of Waghmare on June 11 and Miskin on July 22, the SIT has stated that the duo were together when Waghmare was trained.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

“The accused no A9 (Miskin) along with accused no A7 (Waghmare) trained in the usage of firearms — pistol shooting — in a forest region near Belagavi,’’ states an SIT remand application of July 23 seeking custody of Miskin and his Hubbali friend Amit Baddi.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

The SIT arrested Waghmare last month for the Lankesh murder after finding clues leading to him in a diary belonging to Kale. Based on descriptions provided by Waghmare about his accomplice in the Lankesh shooting, and analysis of mobile phone usage by the group, the SIT arrested Miskin and Baddi, 28, on July 22.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

Miskin was chosen by the secretive group to ride the motorcycle to take Waghmare to Lankesh’s home to carry out the shooting because of his possible involvement in an earlier murder of a similar nature, SIT sources said. The SIT probe has found that Miskin trained a few years earlier in the usage of firearms under Bangera — after he was recruited by Kale.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

The probe has found that the group’s main arms trainer, Bangera, 50, who was a second division clerk in the state government, was also the main supplier of ammunition to the group for their assassination plots.

“The accused no 11 (Bangera) used to buy ammunition for the licensed pistols in his possession and has supplied 20 bullets to A3 (Kale),” the SIT stated in a July 24 remand application seeking custody of Bangera, the Indian Express reports.

Also Read: SIT claims Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the Main Agency to carry out Killings

Since the arrest of Bangera, the SIT has found that he bought hundreds of .32 or 7.65 mm bullets over the last six years from an ammunition store in Madikeri in the guise of using it for his licensed weapons and diverted many of the bullets to the Hindutva group, the Indian Express reports.

Long before he trained Waghmare, Bangera is alleged to have trained Miskin in usage of firearms. Several other youths recruited by Kale and his aides for the group are alleged to have been trained by Bangera, sources said.

Source: Indian Express

As Intellectuals Accuse Goa Govt of Protecting ‘Murderers’, award-winning writer Damodar Mauzo says Goa Govt Soft on Sanatan Sanstha

Goa-based Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Damodar Mauzo, who was last week given police protection following death-threats by the alleged killers of Bengaluru-based writer Gauri Lankesh, on Wednesday said the state government has gone soft on the Sanatan Sanstha, headquartered at Ponda in the coastal state, reports news agency IANS.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers

Prominent Goans, social workers, writers and intellectuals from Maharashtra and Goa who spoke to IndiaScoops.com in the past have demanded a complete ban on the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha and a police investigation into its sources of funding as well as the use of funds collected for so-called religious and educational purposes.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

This is after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of writer Gauri Lankesh found that the Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha’s bank accounts were used as  a conduit to pay the killers. Donations were collected by the Sanstha or its members for various religious and educational purposes, which were discreetly channelized to bear the expenses for illegal, extremist activity.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

Last year at an event called the Hindu Conclave, held in June 2017 at the Sanatan Sanstha in Ponda, several far-right speakers had made vitriolic speeches.

One among them was a godwoman from Madhya Pradesh, Sadhvi Saraswati who openly claimed that Hindus must arm themselves and Hindu men should gift their sisters swords. She also demanded that beef-eaters should be hanged in public, or must leave the country, sparking a outrage in the beef-consuming international tourist destination.

Also Read: Prominent Goans, social workers, writers, intellectuals demand ban on right-wing Sanatan Sanstha

Referring to a spate of murders, Mauzo said, “Why has this happened today? When in 2009 the bomb blast happened, the government went soft on the accused. If the government had remained firm, this would not have come to this pass,” Damodar Mauzo said, speaking to IANS.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

Eight members of the Sanstha were accused of plotting an IED blast in Margao town in South Goa in 2009, but six were acquitted subsequently and two others died while ferrying the bomb towards a crowded Diwali function.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

The Sanstha has said it did not have a role in the blast.

A Congress-led coalition government was in power when the blast took place.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Mauzo was speaking at a solidarity meeting convened in the state capital to condemn the death-threat to the writer, who won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1983 for his novel ‘Karmelin’.

Praising India’s diversity, Mauzo said that in the name of evicting Rohingyas, the national register of citizens was being used to de-list native Indians.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“Do you know what is happening in Assam? In the name of evicting Rohingyas they have prepared a National Register of Citizens. Please go and see whose names are n it. Please understand the agenda behind it and the thought behind it is betrayal of society,” Mauzo said, calling the controversial national register of citizens an “unconstitutional move”, reports IANS.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

In 2016, then Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said that the Goa government would consult the Maharashtra home department, which was probing the murder of leftist leader Govind Pansare, before deciding on a ban on the Sanstha, reports IANS.

Samir Gaikwad, a member of the Sanstha was arrested in 2016, for Pansare’s murder, even as Rudra Patil, another member of the organisation, also linked to the same crime, is absconding.

 

Controversies surrounding Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

The Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and in the 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

The Sanathan Sanstha or its members are accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

In his petition, Rokade had told the court that the state government had forwarded a proposal to the Centre in 2012 recommending a ban on the organisation, but that the Centre did not act on it.

The Maharashtra government’s proposal was based on Anti-Terrorism Squad reports and inputs.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

“The government of Maharashtra has reached to the conclusion that Sanatan Sanstha organisation is liable to be banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” the government had said in an affidavit filed in connection with the case in 2012.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

With inputs from IANS & The Wire

Sanatan Sanstha like cancer, a killing agency and breeding ground for murderers, ban it, demands Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo

Goa-based Sahitya writer Damodar Mauzo, who has been provided security cover following intelligence inputs about a threat to his life, in an interview to news agency PTI, says right-wing outfits such as the Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha should be banned as they are like “cancer” for the state.

Asserting that he would continue writing and speaking against such outfits, Mauzo said bullet cannot kill a thought. He is not scared of such outfits, he claimed, but demanded that the Government must not tolerate such “killing agencies”.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

The Goa Police recently provided security cover to the 73-year-old Sahitya Akademi award winner following intelligence inputs from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka Police, probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, about a threat to his life.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

Mauzo said if action was taken against the Sanatan Sanstha in 2009, when involvement of its activists in a bomb blast in Margao was established, then people like Gauri Lankesh, and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare would not have been killed.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

Two Sanatan Sanstha workers – Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik – had died when the bomb they were ferrying to Margao city in Goa accidentally exploded in November 2009.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

The National Investigation Agency, which was probing the case, had arrested some people having links to the Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing outfit with its headquarters at Ramnathi village in North Goa district, about 40 km from here.

“I have always been saying that Sanatan Sanstha is a rogue institution. All suspects in the four cases (Lankesh, Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar) belong to this institution, which means that it is a training ground, it is a breeding ground,” Mauzo alleged while talking to PTI.

After the bomb blast at Margao in 2009, the outfit should have been banned. If action was taken at that time, people like Kalburgi, Pansare, Lankesh and Dabholkar would not have died, he said.

“Why do we need such a rogue institution in our peaceful state? I can say bluntly…this is a cancer, which is curable, just remove it and Goa will be free from any fears,” he said, referring to the organisation.

If action is taken against the Sanatan Sanstha, then its sister organisations will also be afraid, he opined.

“For us Goans, peaceful coexistence is so much dear to us and we know its worth. The trust between communities living in Goa has to remain,” he said.

Asked about his ideology, the writer, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel “Karmelin” in 1983, said, “Let others decide what ideology I belong to. I am a humanist and I will always remain a humanist.”

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

Mauzo, who played an important role in the 1967 Opinion Poll, a referendum on whether Goa should merge with neighbouring Maharashtra, said the prevailing situation in the state was concerning.

“It is a worrisome situation. For the first time a writer has been threatened in Goa. All Goans should come together and demand that institutions which are against our harmony be banned,” he said.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

Mauzo said though the Sanatan Sanstha has not committed any crime in Goa so far, he is not sure about the future. Alleging that the outfit is a “breeding ground for murderers”, he said action should be taken against it immediately.

This is the time that the government should prove it is working in the interest of Goa and Goans. “Bullet is not an answer, no bullet can kill a thought,” he said.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

Asked why he is on the radar of right-wing outfits, Mauzo, who has written several novels and is also a regular contributor to newspaper columns, said he had closely worked with Kalburgi on ‘Vachana’ literature (about sacred texts) for nearly two years.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“But I am not on the radar because of Kalburgi. I am on their radar because I am outspoken and I had pointedly mentioned about the Sanatan Sanstha during the Guwahati Literary Festival (last year) in the presence of the Assam chief minister and also Union minister Prakash Javadekar,” he said.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Mauzo said at the festival, he had expressed apprehensions about multi-culturalism “which is being thrust upon by perpetrators of mono-cultaralism”. “I have been vocal about such things.”

Also Read: Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

He said he had also delivered a hard-hitting speech at a writers’ forum in New Delhi, which might have disturbed some people.

“When I spoke against the Sanatan Sanstha, they felt pinched and somebody somewhere felt that I should be eliminated,” he claimed.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

Mauzo, however, said he would continue writing and speaking against them.

“If I stop writing or going out fearing the threat, that means they have succeeded. When the police gave me protection,I said give me protection but my freedom should not suffer, there should not be any curbs,” he added.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

Mauzo is the co-founder and co-curator of the Goa Art and Literary Festival, an annual event that started here in 2010.

According to the SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder two  ‘hitlists’ were found in the possession of Amol Kale (36), who was arrested in May. Lankesh’s name was second on a list that  had a total of eight names. Theatre legend Girish Karnad’s name topped the list.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

The other list included 26 targets. Amol Kale, in whose possession the diary was found, is a resident of Pune and a former convenor of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti or HJS, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

He has been associated with the Sanatan Sanstha for a long time.

Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

The Sanathan Sanstha had also been accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Source: PTI

SIT claims Ponda-based Sanatan Sanstha was the main Agency to carry out Killings, Gauri Lankesh was Second on a ‘Hitlist’ of 36 targets

Journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh’s name was on an apparent ‘hitlist’ that had the names of 33 other people, including theatre personality Girish Karnad, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka police has revealed.

Also Read: Plot to kill Lankesh took root at Sanathan Sanstha’s Hindu Conclave in June 2017

According to an Indian Express report, two such ‘hitlists’ were found in the possession of Amol Kale (36), who was arrested in May. Lankesh’s name was second on a list that  had a total of eight names. Theatre legend Girish Karnad’s name topped the list. The other list included 26 targets.

Also Read: SIT arrests teacher Suresh Kumar, formerly the prime witness for non-cooperation and misleading the Gauri Lankesh murder probe

The SIT believes the lists were drawn up in July 2016. Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence on September 5, 2017.

The SIT has arrested two more suspects in relation to the killing, taking the total numbers of suspects arrested in the case, to nine.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT uncovers covert pro-Hindutva outfit that recruits assassins

A Mangalore-based state government employee working for the education department was recently arrested for training the killers how to fire a gun, according to the Indian Express.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha’s bank account was used to channel funds for Gauri Lankesh murder, pay off killer

All the suspects are linked to extremist Hindu groups such as Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) and were active members of both the groups.

Also Read: 36 Targets and 50 Shooters: Gauri Lankesh Murder Suspect’s Diary Reveals Chilling Details

Amol Kale, in whose possession the diary was found, is a resident of Pune and a former convenor of the HJS.

The SIT said that Lankesh and others on the lists were chosen as targets because of their opposition towards radical Hindutva and superstitious practices.

All the people mentioned in the hit list have been provided state security.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder shooter Parashuram Waghmore linked to Sri Rama Sene

“These lists were some kind of tentative collection of names compiled at the end of discussions by a small group of people. They seem to be random lists which would undergo changes. Though Lankesh was named at no. 2, she was targeted first,’’ reported the Indian Express, quoting a police source, because she was apparently a soft and easy target.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh shooter kept in house rented by man from Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha

Mysuru-based writer and academic K.S. Bhagwan, Kannada writers Yogesh Master, Chandrashekhar Patil and Banajagere Jayaprakash and former Karnataka backward castes commission chairman C.S. Dwarkanath were also listed as targets of the group.

Nidumamidi Swamiji, a seer opposed to superstition, was also a target.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh killers planned to kill actor Prakash Raj, a Goan Congress leader and a Mumbai-based journalist

The police have also provided security to literary figures Patil Putappa, Nataraj Huliyar, Baragur Ramachandrappa and Chennaveera Kanavi. Rationalist Narendra Nayak and S.M. Jamdar, the former IAS officer and proponent of separate religion status for the Lingayat community, were also provided state security.

Also Read: Probe into Gauri Lankesh’s murder reveals links to extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha

Other documents found in Kale and associate Sujeet Kumar’s possession reveal a network of at least 30 people engaged in planning and execution of killings of those opposed to Hindutva.

Also Read: Sanathan Sanstha a nodal agency for radicals involved in the murder of Gauri Lankesh, money for hits, was routed through donations made to Sanstha

Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

Sanatan Sanstha, established in 1999, has been accused in several high-profile killings and 2008 Thane and Vashi bomb-blasts, claims a report in the The Wire.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva outfit including a retired Indian Army Colonel hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot, claims SIT 

A member of the organisation is a key accused in the murder of writer and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

The Sanathan Sanstha had also been accused of being responsible for an explosion in Goa in 2009, and for bombings in Vashi, Thane and Panvel in 2007, according to a submission which was part of a plea filed by Vinay Rokade in the Bombay High Court, which sought a ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Also Read: Top leaders of pro-Hindutva extremist outfit hatched Gauri Lankesh murder plot

In his petition, Rokade had told the court that the state government had forwarded a proposal to the Centre in 2012 recommending a ban on the organisation, but that the Centre did not act on it.

The Maharashtra government’s proposal was based on Anti-Terrorism Squad reports and inputs.

Also Read: Gauri Lankesh murder accused confesses to being indoctrinated at Goa’s Sanatan Sanstha other Hindu outfits involved

“The government of Maharashtra has reached to the conclusion that Sanatan Sanstha organisation is liable to be banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,” the government had said in an affidavit filed in connection with the case in 2012.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, registered in 2002, is an offshoot of the Sanstha. The HJS’s stated aim is to establish a ‘Hindu nation’.

Source: The Wire