Maharashtra government to fast-track proposal for ban on Sanatan Sanstha

After the latest breakthrough in the murder of rationalist and anti-superstition crusader, Dr Narendra Dabholkar, the state government is looking at fast-tracking its long-pending proposal to ban the controversial Sanatan Sanstha.

The senior state government functionaries said they were appraising the Centre about the developments in the case, in which members of the right-wing radical Hindutva group, which is headquartered at Ponda in Goa, have been accused of alleged involvement in Dabholkar’s killing in 2013.

Dabholkar, who headed the Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti and edited the Sadhana weekly, was shot dead by two assailants riding a motorcycle on August 20, 2013, while on his morning walk, in Pune.

After an arms and crude bombs haul at Nalasopara and Pune, at least four right-wing workers — Vaibhav Raut, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Sharad Kalaskar and former Shiv Sena corporator Shrikant Pangarkar were arrested by the state Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) since August 9 for allegedly planning terror activities in some cities of Maharashtra. Sachin Andure, who was arrested from Aurangabad, has been accused of shooting Dabholkar with Kalaskar.

Deepak Kesarkar, minister of state for home, said they would appraise the Centre of the investigations in the case. “It will depend on what is revealed in the probe. We have ensured compliance on the queries raised (by the Centre on the Maharashtra government’s proposal) earlier,” he added.

A senior home department official said their 2011 proposal to the Union Home Ministry to ban the Sanstha was still pending. This proposal had mentioned cases registered against the members of the outfit founded by Dr Jayant Balaji Athavale.

“The Centre raised some queries which we replied to. Since 2015, no fresh queries were sent. The delay may be because so far, no members of the group have been convicted and some cases are sub-judice,” he explained. Moreover, banning any outfit or organisation made their activities go underground and hence, tough for the law enforcement agencies to track.

“We have sent our report on the case involving Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanva Gondhalekar to the union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). As a protocol, if an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, case is registered by any agency, it has to send a report within 24 hours to the MHA and the state home department,” said an ATS officer.

Founded as the Sanatan Bharatiya Sanskruti Sanstha in the 1990s, the organisation have been registered in different names across states, making it difficult for agencies to track and ban them.

Leader of the opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and other opposition figures have also sought that the outfit be proscribed. However, Sanatan spokesperson said Congress leaders were targeting the group to “save their own skin.”

Sadhaks (seekers or devotees) of the Sanstha have been allegedly linked to the murder of Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Govindrao Pansare in 2015 at Kolhapur and the group has been accused of being allegedly involved in planting explosives at theaters in Thane and Vashi. The group also publishes a daily called ‘Sanatan Prabhat.’

Source: DNA

Rahul Gandhi takes up Maratha Reservation stir, summons Nirupam, Chavan, Kharge, Vikhe-Patil and others to Delhi on Aug 8

Mumbai: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has waded into the Maratha reservation row, reports the Times of India.

Gandhi has called a meeting of state leaders, including state Congress president and former chief minister Ashok Chavan, in Delhi on August 8, said sources. AICC general secretary Malikarjun Kharge, who is in charge of the state, former CM Prithviraj Chavan, leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and city Congress president Sanjay Nirupam are expected to attend the meeting.

When Congress was in power, it had promulgated an ordinance to provide 16% reservation to Marathas in 2014. Subsequently, the Bombay high court
stayed the decision.

A week ago, a Congress delegation led by Chavan called on Backward Class Commission chairman Justice M G Gaikwad and governor C Vidyasagar Rao and urged them to step in to resolve the issue of reservation for Marathas. “We will present the case of the Marathas before Rahul Gandhi,” a senior Congress politician said.

Senior Congress sources told that Congress President Rahul Gandhi wants the Maharashtra Congress unit to proactively take up causes and issues.

While the Maharashtra Congress is facing a cash crunch, Gandhi wants the different factions in the State to unite and pool together all their resources and manpower to unitedly take on the BJP in the coming elections.

Some elders have been sidelined and feel left out. Rahul Gandhi wants the current Maharashtra Congress core team to invite all leaders and work with them and benefit from their wide experience. Nobody should feel left out.

Rahul Gandhi wants to include every Congress leader and party worker in the fight against the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls 2019, a senior Congress leader said.

with inputs from Times of India