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.

Besides Sanatan Sanstha and HJS member Vaibhav Raut, two more persons arrested by Maha ATS, huge quantity of explosives seized in overnight raid

In multiple raids across Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Friday arrested two more people after at least eight country-made bombs along with a huge quantity of gun powder and other explosives, including detonators and timers and literature were seized from the residence of Vaibhav Raut, a Sanatan Sanstha member on Friday morning.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha member’s Palghar home raided, 8 live bombs, detonators, other explosives recovered

While Raut has been arrested and is being questioned by police, two others were arrested from Pune and Palghar. Raids are currently underway in Pune and Aurangabad.

Under the supervision of a senior IPS-rank officer, an ATS team raided the home of Vaibhav Raut in the wee hours of Friday and searches continued till early morning.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs and explosives were seized was actively involved with Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

Raut is likely to be placed under arrest and produced before a local court, sources told The Indian Express.

The explosives have been handed over to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its nature.

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

“We want to know source of these explosives and how Raut intended to use them and therefore his custodial interrogation is necessary,” said an official requesting anonymity.

While the right-wing terror outfit denied Raut being an active member, Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punelikar told the press that Raut was acquainted to its member.

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

The Sanatan Sanstha issued a press note claiming that Vaibhav Raut was a part of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS). However, he has not been active for the past couple of months.

HJS Maharashtra organiser Sunil Ghanvat said Raut is a fearless cow protector (gau rakshak). But he denied Raut was actively involved with his organisation.

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

Both the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS got into a war of words, each trying to deny Raut’s assocation with their organisation, claiming that he was just a sympathizer.

“Raut had been externed by the Palghar police in connection with a beef ban case. While he is a hindutva worker, he isn’t our member. However I doubt the ATS claim of he hoarding explosives,” he said. Punelikar added that the outfit will provide Raut legal aid.

Arrested by ATS for possession of bombs and explosives, Vaibhav Raut was an active member of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and a vociferous Gau-Rakshak

The Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad (ATS) has recovered at least eight country-made bombs and other explosives and detonators from the house of Sanathan Sanstha worker Vaibhav Raut, reports India Today.

From the initial investigation, it seems the bomb-making activity was going on for at least six months, prior to the raid on Friday.

Also Read: Sanatan Sanstha member’s Palghar home raided, 8 live bombs, detonators, other explosives recovered

In a late night raid, the squad searched Raut’s house and a nearby local shop in Palghar.

According to a source, at least eight country-made live bombs were recovered from his residence. A lot of other hardware and electronic items like timers and detonators were also found, as was testing equipment like multi-meters and other electronic circuits used to make remote controlled detonators.

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

The team also seized raw material like gunpowder and detonators from a nearby shop.

The police claimed that a large amount of gunpowder was seized which is enough to make over two dozen bombs. It is surprising how such a huge amount of explosives were stocked at Raut’s residence.

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

Raut who was at home during raids has been taken into custody. The dog squad was also present during the raid.

Vaibhav Raut has been associated with Sanatan Sanstha and a few other Hindu organisation from Nalasopara near Mumbai.

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

He will be produced in the court in afternoon today, after police complete the paper work including preparing the remand application.

Passing the buck

The Sanatan Sanstha issued a press note claiming that Vaibhav Raut was a part of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS). However, he has not been active for the past couple of months.

HJS Maharashtra organiser Sunil Ghanvat said Raut is a fearless cow protector (gau rakshak). But he denied Raut was actively involved with his organisation.

Both the Sanatan Sanstha and the HJS got into a war of words, each trying to deny Raut’s assocation with their organisation, claiming that he was just a sympathizer.

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

HJS claimed that Raut is a core member of the Sanatan Sanstha and would occasionally take part in HJS activities particularly cow protection.

However, Raut had not participated in any of the programmes for the past few months, Ghanvat added.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs and explosives were seized was actively involved with Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

Sunil Ghanvat called Raut’s arrest a “needless harassment of Hindu organisation activists” to implicate them into false cases.

“This has been amply proved through the Malegaon case. And then the arrest of many innocent followers of Sanatan Sanstha. Raut is an instance of Malegaon Part 2,” Ghanvat said.

with inputs from India Today and India TV

Sanatan Sanstha member’s Palghar home raided, 8 live bombs, detonators, other explosives recovered

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) recovered at least eight country-made bombs and about 5 unfinished or partially made bombs, fuses, detonators along with other explosives and fuses and other literature from the residence of a Sanatan Sanstha member while conducting raids at his residence in Palghar.

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

An ATS team under the supervision of a senior IPS-rank officer raided the home of Vaibhav Raut in the wee hours of Friday and searches continued till early morning.

Raut, who has been taken into custody for questioning, is likely to be placed under arrest and produced before a local court, sources said.

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

The explosives have been handed over to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain its nature.

The police are also investigation the source of the explosives. Initial investigations show that Raut obtained the gun powder from mining and quarrying companies in Maharashtra and Goa.

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

“We want to know source of these explosives and how Raut intended to use them and therefore his custodial interrogation is necessary,” said an official requesting anonymity.

It seems that Raut was a professional and was into the activity for at least a year. He was involved with a few far-right extremist Hindutva organisations and was also involved in harassing meat traders in Maharashtra, by intercepting vehicles transporting meat or cattle.

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

While the right-wing terror outfit denied Raut being an active member, Sanatan Sanstha advocate Sanjeev Punelikar told the media that Raut was acquainted to one of its members.

“Raut had been externed by the Palghar police in connection with a beef ban case. While he is a Hindutva worker, he isn’t our member.

Also Read: Vaibhav Raut from whom 8 bombs and explosives were seized was actively involved with Sanatan Sanstha for last 6 years

The Sanatan Sanstha claimed Raut was part of another Hindutva organisation, while the police claim that he was associated with at least one dozen far-right hardline Hindutva organisations in the country.

More facts will come to light as police interrogate the accused after obtaining remand. Sources claim that Raut was also linked to the group involved in the murder of writer and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

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

“However I doubt the ATS claim of he hoarding explosives,” he said. Punelikar added that the outfit Sanatan Sanstha will provide Raut legal aid.

Sanatan Sanstha officials said Raut is being framed by the police because he was an active gau-rakshak.

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

Persons owing allegiance to Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested in four bombings in Vashi, Thane, Panvel (all in 2007) and Goa (in 2009) and in the murders rationalists – Narendra Dabholkar (in 2013), Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi (both in 2015) and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.

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

Both the Maharashtra police and the Central Bureau of Investigation probing the cases have questioned the outfit’s founder Jayant Balaji Athavale in the past.

Calling the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha an “extra-constitutional authority” and a “cancer” whose spread should be stopped, prominent activists from Goa have demanded a ban on it.

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

Stressing on the need for such a move, 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.

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

Two men, including one allegedly from the Sanatan Sanstha, died in 2009 while they were transporting explosives to be reportedly planted in a crowded area in Margao.

with inputs from Indian Express

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 IndiaScoops.com 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

Borivali Builder accuses BJP MP Gopal Shetty of allegedly demanding Rs 5 Cr?

A Borivali Builder and Developer has accused Mumbai North West BJP MP Gopal Shetty of allegedly making extortion demands of  Rs 5 crore through his henchmen and goons and further making several threatening calls, when he ignored the demand.

He also alleged that Shetty’s goons attacked his vehicle with stones on Friday morning, with an intention to scare him into paying the extortion amount.

The Builder Ramkumar Gupta who has an office in Mira Road, is developing a huge plot of land close to the Dahisar-Borivali Western Express Highway.

Also Read: BJP MP Gopal Shetty abuses Christians using very vulgar language, says they are useless, good for nothing…

On Friday morning some unidentified person threw stones at Gupta’s SUV while he was leaving the plot, damaging the trunk of the vehicle and breaking the rear windshield glass. Suspecting the hand of the MP behind the attack, Gupta  approached the Kasturba police station at Borivali East with a written complaint against the MP, but was turned away by the duty officer who reprimanded Gupta for wasting the time of the police with frivolous complaints. The police instructed Gupta to come with “concrete proof” of his allegations.

Gupta then approached this journalist through a common friend and narrated his ordeal to him. He said the Kasturba police officials were very rude to him and acted as though they were on the payroll of the MP.

Also Read: Sex for Work: Model accuses BJP leader of alleged blackmail, molestation and sexual harassment

“How am I to collect evidence. It’s the job of the police to register my complaint and investigate and collect the evidence in the form of call records, CCTV camera recordings, etc. Instead the SHO asked me to collect all the requisite evidence and only then visit the police station,” Gupta told IndiaScoops.com.

According to Gupta, his problems started about six months ago. He had taken over a plot of land about a year ago, for development, which comprises of some old workshops and shanties adjacent to the Western Express Highway.

The 5-10 odd resident families have been living there for over 20-25 years and have full re-development rights. He put up a board in May this year and began preparing the plans, paperwork and documentation to start work on the project.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty still questions role of Christian community in Freedom Struggle, says is a debatable subject, refuses to apologize

Another builder who is developing a neighboring plot and is associated with the BJP MP wanted Gupta to join hands with him, but Gupta refused. It seems the rival builder and the MP could have teamed up against Gupta with a view to derail his project.

However, as soon as his notice board was put up, some thugs approached him and asked him to meet the MP in his office immediately regarding the project. Gupta accordingly sent someone on his behalf to meet the MP in his office. The MP was furious that Gupta did not come to meet him personally and did not entertain his emissary, but abused him in very filthy language.

Also Read: Christians are ‘Angrez’: Mumbai Christians move Bombay HC, ACMM court after BJP MP Gopal Shetty refuses to apologize

The BJP MP conveyed to me through a third party that I must work together with another builder who is close to him, but I didn’t want to join hands with the other developer, Gupta said.

“Later on the MP’s thugs and goons started harassing and threatening me with dire consequences if I did not pay Rs 5 crore as protection money. They claimed some locals had approached the MP with complaints against the builder and threatened to file a police complaint against him for trespassing and land grabbing, besides trying to illegally evict the locals residing on the plot,” Gupta told IndiaScoops.com.

Though Shetty was not available personally for comment, the MP’s office denied the allegations and termed them politically motivated.

A spokesperson for Gopal Shetty said they had never heard of any developer by the name of  Ramkumar Gupta and never spoke to him. No one by that name ever came to meet us, Shetty’s office said.

“If someone else contacted him, claiming to be Gopal Shetty’s PA, we are not responsible. Neither MP Gopal Shetty nor anyone from his office has met Gupta. He must approach the police in this regard, the MP’s representative said,” adding that a rival politician from the Borivali area is instigating  people against Gopal Shetty.

Gupta alleges that Shetty wanted to be a partner in the project through a dummy builder, an allegation which is strongly denied by Shetty’s team.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s comment about Christians was pre-planned, pre-mediated and well-thought off, not made on the spur of the moment

However, Gupta claims he has proof that he was summoned to the MP’s office and his representative went there on two occasions, but was not allowed to meet the MP. I have received several threatening calls in the last one month.  They wanted me to attend the MP’s office in person, which I am not willing to do, he told IndiaScoops.com.

Gupta told IndiaScoops.com he will meet the zonal DCP on Monday and if the police do not take action within 3-4 days after verifying his complaint, he will approach the courts.

MP Gopal Shetty was recently in the eye of a storm, when he stated that Indian Christians did not contribute to India’s freedom struggle, as they were ‘angrez” adding that only Hindus and Muslims played a role in India’s freedom struggle.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s resignation was a publicity stunt and diversive tactic, MP never put in his papers

“Christians were angrez (British); hence they didn’t participate in India’s freedom struggle. India was not freed by Hindus or Muslims, we fought as one for our independence,” he was caught on video as saying.

Shetty made the controversial remark while addressing a gathering during an Eid-e-Milan program organised by the Shia Kabrastan Committee at Malad’s Malvani.

Two Catholics from Malad have approached the Bombay HC and the Borivali ACMM’s court against Shetty (Read Here) after the Malwani police refused to register an FIR.

Editor’s Note: This is a developing story and will be updated as new inputs come in

Christians are ‘Angrez’: Mumbai Christians move Bombay HC, ACMM court after BJP MP Gopal Shetty refuses to apologize and defends his words

IndiaScoops.com Bureau | Mumbai | 16 JULY 2018: Two Mumbai Catholics who had approached the Malwani Police Station in suburban Mumbai with a written complaint against Mumbai-North BJP MP Gopal Shetty after his provocative statements (Read Here) against the community at an Eid Milan program organised by the Shia Kabrastan committee at Malwani, have now approached the Bombay High Court and the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s (ACMM) court at Borivili.

Also Read: BJP MP Gopal Shetty abuses Christians using very vulgar language, says they are useless, good for nothing…

The incident which took place in the first week of July, led to a public outcry among the Christian and Catholic community in Mumbai which reverberated all over the country.

Gerard Lobo and Mavis Fernandes both residents of Orlem at Malad West today filed their pleas in the Bombay High Court and the ACMM’s court, through their lawyers, but refused to speak to the media on the issue. The duo received several abusive and crank calls in the past two weeks after they approached the police and had to even change their mobile numbers IndiaScoops.com has learnt.

“We will speak to the media, after our pleas are admitted by the respective courts and notices issued to the respondents. It is for the court to now verify our complaint and take cognizance,” Lobo told IndiaScoops.com

Also Read: In spite of uproar, Gopal Shetty still questions role of Christian community in Freedom Struggle, says is a debatable subject, refuses to apologize

IndiaScoops.com has learnt that the duo approached the courts after the Malwani police failed to take any action whatsoever  in spite of a huge public hue and cry. The Malwani police even refused to entertain the complainants and ill-treated them, it is learnt, under pressure from the BJP MP.

The Bombay High Court plea is a writ petition, while the ACCM court case is a criminal complaint or MECR under various provisions of the IPC, Lobo said.

A video clip of Shetty shot by a mobile phone had gone viral on Facebook and social media, with locals insisting that it was not a slip of the tongue, as Shetty later claimed (Read Here), but Shetty was deliberately and intentionally trying to create a rift between the Muslims and Christians in the area, and instigate the Muslims against the local Catholics who have been living in harmony with the Muslims for a very long time.

Also Read: Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh strongly condemns BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s attack on Christians

There is a sizable Catholic population in Malad with Malwani, Aksa, Madh and Gorai being home to thousands of East Indian Catholics who are the original inhabitants of the area, being farmers and fishermen. Many kolis from the fishing community in Madh, Aksa and Gorai are also Christians.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s resignation was a publicity stunt and diversive tactic, MP never put in his papers

Speaking to IndiaScoops.com Gerard Lobo and Mavis Fernandes both residents of Orlem at Malad West had said they sent a written complaint to the Malwani police station asking the police to take appropriate action against Shetty under sections 153A and 504 as well as other relevant sections of the IPC. They had also demanded to know if police permission was taken for the program where Shetty made the provocative statements.

Also Read: In Pics: Mumbai Congress, Mahila Congress protest rally on Friday, against Gopal Shetty’s comments

Lobo had told IndiaScoops.com that the Malwani police refused to accept the written complaint or give us an acknowledgement and asked for the CD with the recording of Shetty’s speech. “We have now sent the complaint along with the CD of Shetty’s speech, and are waiting for the police to act. The duty officer said the senior police inspector was busy and he would first discuss the matter with the Malwani Sr PI before accepting the complaint,” Lobo had then told IndiaScoops.com, alleging that the Malwani Police are unwilling to accept and act on their complaint.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s comment about Christians was pre-planned, pre-mediated and well-thought off, not made on the spur of the moment

The Bharat Citizens Action Forum (BCAF), a forum for the promotion of inter-religious harmony and justice, has sent a legal notice to Shetty – demanding an unconditional apology. In case he (Shetty) does not tender an unconditional apology, we will approach the appropriate court in this regard,” Firoz Khan, general secretary of the BCAF had told IndiaScoops.com.

Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh strongly condemned the verbal attack (Read Here) by BJP MP Gopal Shetty against Indian Christians.

Also Read: After drama, BJP MP Gopal Shetty withdraws his resignation, but refuses to withdraw his words, or apologize, Christians left fuming

The incident occurred after Shetty in a public speech had incorrectly claimed that Indian Christians did not contribute to the Freedom struggle and sided with the British.  When the gaffe was pointed out to him the next day and he was informed that the community is up in arms, with his speech video gone viral on Facebook, Shetty threw a fit. “Using vulgar and abusive language, he retorted: let them go screw themselves, ‘they (the Christian community) are anyway useless, and good for nothing,  they don’t vote for us (the BJP)’. This was revealed to IndiaScoops.com, the next day by a source who was present near Shetty when this happened.

Shetty later issued a clarification  (Read Here) stating that he was misquoted by the media and he didn’t intend to offend any community. His quotes were reported out of context, he said.  He however refused to apologise saying he had done nothing wrong and it was his personal opinion. Shetty has vehemently denied any wrong doing. After senior party leaders criticized his speech, he offered to resign but a few hours later did a U-TURN and claimed there was no need to resign for routine comments.

However, in a video clip doing the rounds on Facebook, Shetty is clearly heard saying that the Christian community did not contribute to the Freedom struggle in India.

His media statement came only as an afterthought, after Christians raised a hue and cry. He refused to take calls seeking clarifications about his statement which has been recorded on video. The media statement issued by Shetty sounds hollow and there is no tone of an apology, Gerard Lobo a prominent Catholic social worker from Malad opined.

This is not the first time, Shetty has been caught with his foot in his mouth. On two more occasions, he ended up shooting from the hip, leading to a local uproar in the area.

Around Feb 2018, Gopal Shetty was in the firing line when his ‘fashion to commit suicide‘ quote, concerning ‘farmers’ suicides went viral across the nation. Shetty had said, “All farmer suicides are not only because of hunger and unemployment. There is a fashion, a trend is on. If Maharashtra government is giving Rs 5 lakh, another government is giving Rs 7 lakh, Rs 8 lakh. There is a competition going on to give money to farmers,” he said at an event at Borivli.

Shetty’s remarks came at a time when the BJP-ruled Maharashtra was reeling under an agrarian crisis with 124 farmers committing suicide in the state and caused a major embarrassment to CM Devendra Fadnavis’ government.

Far-right fringe groups trying to get a foot-hold in Malwani: Was BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s ‘Christians are Angrez’ statement a premeditated plan to foment trouble?

By Anita Mendonca | Malwani | 7 July 2018:  With the Lok Sabha elections just a year away, several far-right fringe groups including the Dharam Jagaran Samanvay Samiti, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Hindu Andolan, Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, Shiv Sena Hindustan, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Hindu Dharma Sena, Hindu Makkal Katchi, Hindu Rashtra Sena, Sanathan Sanstha, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini, etc., are trying to gain a foot-hold in the sensitive area of Malwani, a part of the North-western suburb of Malad in suburban Mumbai, claim State police intelligence (SID) reports.

Also Read: BJP MP Gopal Shetty abuses Christians using very vulgar language, says they are useless, good for nothing…

The above groups including some unnamed covert extremist Hindu outfits are trying very hard to recruit members and set up a base for themselves in Malwani, using the general poverty and discontentment in the area as an excuse, as the locality battles a series of social problems including unemployment, lack of civic amenities, lack of local recreational activity, growing drug and alcohol abuse among youngsters, prostitution, bootlegging, theft, counterfeiting, etc.

The average population of Malwani falls in the lower income group and more than 50 per cent of the residents have a tough time making ends meet. There is also a huge BPL (below poverty line) concentration in the area, who depend on odd jobs to earn their daily bread and dal-roti.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s resignation was a publicity stunt and diversive tactic, MP never put in his papers

A ghetto with a significant Muslim population, Malwani had hit the headlines a few years ago when four local Muslim boys had left to join the terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS). Of them, two returned home, one is in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody, while one is untraceable, states a Times of India report, dated 12th March 2017. There are many Christians and Catholics – most of them East Indians who pride themselves on being called the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s comment about Christians was pre-planned, pre-mediated and well-thought off, not made on the spur of the moment

For now, Hindus, Muslims and Christians including a huge population of scheduled castes and Dalits, live in harmony in Malwani, thanks to the efforts of the local MLA Aslam Shaikh and his team, but a small communal spark can be very dangerous in the area.

Also Read: Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh, Mumbai Congress strongly condemn BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s attack on Christians

Apart from facing threats of radicalization, Malwani also battles drug menace, claims the above TOI report. With unemployment on the rise, there is a significant increase in the number of drugs addicts and peddlers alike. This is a hotbed for trouble and even a small spark can ignite a huge fire which can turn into a communal inferno, says social worker Gerard Lobo, a resident of Orlem and a member of the Bharat Citizens Action Forum (BCAF) active in the area.

Also Read: After drama, BJP MP Gopal Shetty withdraws his resignation, but refuses to withdraw his words, or apologize, Christians left fuming

A sizeable population in Malwani lives in slums and shanties and overcrowding and lack of civic amenities is one of the major shortfalls in the area.  State intelligence officials who track Malwani are worried about both extremist Hindu and Muslim groups trying to create tension in the area and Malwani police station is manned by an additional force to handle such problems.

Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh has been trying very hard for the last few years, to provide local employment for the Malwani youth and keep them occupied to ensure that they don’t get influenced and picked up by  radical elements.

Also Read: In Pics: Mumbai Congress, Mahila Congress protest rally on Friday, against Gopal Shetty’s comments

The statements of BJP MP Gopal Shetty made in such a politically and communally sensitive area assume significance. Was there a larger plan at work. Sources say, Shetty was trying to set off a small spark that would burn unnoticed, only to create an explosion later on, maybe months later. Was Shetty trying to instigate the Muslims against the Christians in the area? Or was he trying to send a subtle message or hint to the extremist Hindu groups trying to set up shop in Malwani? Shetty it seems, has a personal grouse with some aggressive Christian social welfare groups in the area, which Shetty and his ilk including the Bajrang Dal, RSS and VHP think are indulging in conversion in a very subtle manner. There are several Christian social welfare groups active in Malwani, Madh, Aksa, Gorai and Charkop, which have long been a thorn in Shetty’s side. He has been nursing a grudge against such activity, but is unable to do much as long as all the communities stand united.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty still questions role of Christian community in Freedom Struggle, says is a debatable subject, refuses to apologize

Intelligence sources claim that Shetty’s statement no matter how  seemingly innocent or innocuous, must be investigated with a high-powered magnifying glass, given the location in which it was made.  Asaduddin Owaisi‘s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party is trying very hard to ween away Muslims from their traditional Congress fold and plans to field MP as well as MLA candidates from the area. Could it be a secret pact between the AIMIM and the BJP to destabilize the Congress in the area? The timing of the statement also assumes importance, as the BJP gets on the defensive, from an earlier position of strength two years ago. The BJPs local political partner the Shiv Sena is also making inroads in the area and the party could be feeling threatened politically.

Also Read: Mumbai Christians file Police Complaint against Gopal Shetty for derogatory language against community, demand unconditional apology 

For now the plan if there was one, does not seem to have succeeded. But Gopal Shetty’s arrogance and ego – he refused to apologize and still claims he said nothing wrong or incorrect – could be a big hindrance in communal harmony in Malwani. Residents of Malwani must be vigilant against such communal forces that will try very hard to disturb the peace in the area in the coming months.

BJP leader Gopal Shetty’s resignation was a publicity stunt and diversive tactic, MP never put in his papers at all!

When BJP MP from the Mumbai North constituency Gopal Shetty was caught with his foot in his mouth, after calling Christians ‘angrez’ who never participated in the Freedom Struggle and sided with the British, a national media uproar took the wind out of Shetty’s sails.

Also Read: BJP MP Gopal Shetty abuses Christians using very vulgar language, says they are useless, good for nothing…

However fueled by his ego and arrogance, Shetty did not apologize to the Christian community claiming that ‘it was his personal opinion or viewpoint and the role of Christians was anyway debatable’ and he was ready to resign as his ‘freedom of expression was more important to him, than any post or position in the party’.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty still questions role of Christian community in Freedom Struggle, says is a debatable subject, refuses to apologize

Shetty’s offer to resign was the oldest trick in the politicians’ guidebook. The media diverted its attention from the core issue to Shetty’s resignation. However, Shetty did just the opposite. Besides, speaking to news agency ANI and one or two others, after Shetty’s resignation news went viral, he sat tight and refused to take further calls from the media.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s comment about Christians was pre-planned, pre-mediated and well-thought off, not made on the spur of the moment

He had not put in his papers till late in the night on Friday, with sources saying that the party leadership has asked him to reconsider his decision. Shetty had no intention to resign at all. He only diverted media glare from the main issue which was insulting the Christian community.

MP Gopal Shetty, who is facing flak for raising questions about participation of the Christian community in India’s freedom struggle, on Friday offered to tender his resignation to state party president Raosaheb Danve. But he had not put in his papers till late in the night, reports Mumbai Mirror.

Also Read: Mumbai Christians file Police Complaint against Gopal Shetty for derogatory language against community, demand unconditional apology 

Hours after Mirror reported that the senior BJP leader has embarrassed his party by claiming that Indian Christians had no role to play in the freedom movement, Shetty told reporters, “My statement was taken out of context. If I don’t have the freedom to express my thoughts, then I don’t want to put my party in an embarrassing situation. Therefore, I have offered to resign.”

Shetty had made the statement while addressing a gathering during the Eid-E-Milad organised by the Shia Kabrastan Committee at Malvani in Malad on Sunday. A video of his speech has since gone viral.

Also Read: Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh, Mumbai Congress strongly condemn BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s attack on Christians

On Friday, the Congress, AAP and other political parties, social activists and Christian organisations demanded an unconditional apology from the MP.

AAP’s Maharashtra unit even filed a complaint against Shetty with the state minority commission. Abrham Mathai, president of Indian Christian Voice and former vice-chairman of minority commission, also took umbrage at Shetty for failing to appreciate the Indian Christians’ role during the freedom struggle, reports Mumbai Mirror.

Also Read: After drama, BJP MP Gopal Shetty withdraws his resignation, but refuses to withdraw his words, or apologize, Christians left fuming

“During the freedom struggle, despite their small population, Indian Christians rose to the occasion to demand ‘swaraj’ for our country. Shetty is totally ignorant of history and seems to be deliberately distorting proven historical facts to suit his agenda,” Mathai said.

In a terse response to Shetty’s remarks, Shaila Baptista, great grandniece of Joseph Kaka Baptista, who was a close associate of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, told Mirror that politicians should be made accountable for making such frivolous statements.

Also Read: In Pics: Mumbai Congress, Mahila Congress protest rally on Friday, against Gopal Shetty’s comments

“Over the past few years, an atmosphere of animosity and hatred is being created against minorities. We feel we are unwanted in our own country,” said Shaila, who lives with her family in Navi Mumbai.

Shetty issued another statement on Saturday to defend himself and his statements:

gopal-shetty-christians-angrez-statement

with inputs from Mumbai Mirror

BJP MP Gopal Shetty withdraws his resignation, but will not withdraw statements against Christian community or apologize?

BJP parliamentarian from Maharashtra, Mumbai North constituency, Gopal Shetty on Friday withdrew his resignation by evening, after stoking a major national controversy with his comment that “Christians are angrez and hence did not contribute to the freedom struggle”.

He made the controversial remark by addressing a gathering for the Eid-e-Milad organised by the Shia Kabrastan Committee in Mumbai on Sunday.

“India was not freed by Hindus…India was not freed by Muslims, we fought as one for our independence. Christians were angrez (British), so they didn’t participate in India’s freedom struggle,” he can be heard as saying in a video.

Also Read: BJP MP Gopal Shetty abuses Christians using very vulgar language, says they are useless, good for nothing…

The Congress was soon to reply on the comments and demanded Mr Shetty’s resignation, calling him a repeat offender. “Shetty has a history of inappropriate remarks,” said Mumbai Congress leader Bhushan Patil.

Shetty, an MP representing Mumbai North in parliament, however, denied the criticisms, saying that his words were wrongly interpreted. He further said that he has not said anything which could subject him to an apology.

Also Read: In Pics: Mumbai Congress, Mahila Congress protest rally on Friday, against Gopal Shetty’s comments

Sharply criticizing Shetty, Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan said: “It reflects despicably communal mindset of the BJP. Freedom struggle is the epitome of sacrifices made by all communities including Christians. Shetty must know that only RSS was in support of the British.”

Condemning the “anti-minority remarks”, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam demanded that Shetty must tender “an apology to the entire Christian community of India as he has no knowledge of history or the contribution of the Christians in the independence movement”.

Also Read: Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh, Mumbai Congress strongly condemn BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s attack on Christians

On Friday, All India Mahila Congress General Secretary Janet Desouza and Mumbai Mahila Congress President Ajanta Yadav held a protest outside Shetty’s office in Borivali West.

Two Christian residents from Orlem in Malad – Mavis Fernandes and Gerard Lobo – submitted a written complaint against Shetty to police in Malvani, demanding action against the MP for promoting enmity between communities.

Malvani Congress legislator Aslam Shaikh pointed out that though small in numbers, the Christian community contributed significantly to the freedom struggle and also in nation building.

Also Read: Mumbai Christians file Police Complaint against Gopal Shetty for derogatory language against community, demand unconditional apology 

As the issue snowballed, Shetty on Thursday appeared to backtrack and said it was “a miscommunication and misinterpretation”, adding that people from every religion contributed to the freedom struggle.

Going further on the defensive on Friday, Shetty said “he was a responsible person with a long political career behind him and would never think embarrassing the BJP top leadership”, hinting at submitting his resignation.

However, on Friday, BJP state spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told the media that the party’s top leaders and state BJP President Raosaheb Patil-Danve have spoken with Shetty and the party stood by him.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty still questions role of Christian community in Freedom Struggle, says is a debatable subject, refuses to apologize

Agitated members of the Christian community flooded the social media with names of prominent persons who had taken an active part in the freedom struggle, stood with leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and made many sacrifices on the personal and family fronts.

They included Thevarthundiyil Titus and his wife Annamma, Accamma Cherian whom Gandhi called the ‘Jhansi ki Rani of Travancore’, Christian missionaries like Stanley Jones, C.F. Andrews, J.C. Wilson, Ernest Forrester-Paton, Ralph R. Keitahn, Varrier Elwin, John J. Cornelius, J.C. Kumarappa, Paul Ramaswamy, T.M. Verghese, A.J. John, Anne Mascarenhas, Joachim Alva and many more.

Also Read: Gopal Shetty’s comment about Christians was pre-planned, pre-mediated and well-thought off, not made on the spur of the moment

Earlier in the day, reports were going rounds that Shetty had submitted his resignation to BJP chief Amit Shah.

This is not the first time that Gopal Shetty has run into major trouble. Two years ago, Shetty had stirred widespread criticism by describing farmer suicides as “fashion”.

He had said: “All suicides do not happen because of unemployment or hunger. It has become fashion these days. If the Maharashtra Government is giving Rs. 5 lakh as compensation, the other state gives 7 and the next 8 lakh. There is competition in giving compensation to farmers.”

Source: India Tv