The Pune Police raided the homes of human rights activists in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Delhi, Faridabad and Goa. Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira (Mumbai), Gautam Navlakha (New Delhi), Sudha Bharadwaj (Faridabad) and Varavara Rao (Hyderabad) were taken into custody, while Anand Teltumbde’s Goa residence was raided. The search warrants cite sections of the anti-terrorism law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to the offence of promoting enmity between groups. These arrests are nothing but a conspiracy of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to counter the rising demands for investigating and banning the Hindutva terrorist outfits like Sanatan Sanstha (SS) in the country.
Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Special Investigation Team (SIT) in Karnataka have made several arrests related to the political assassinations of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. All those who have been arrested so far have connections with the Goa-based SS, and its affiliates. Yesterday’s arrests is an attempt to divert attention from the complex and large terror network of SS, and a conspiracy to carry out serial bomb attacks on Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi.
It cannot be a coincidence that Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit – one of the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, who is now out on bail – filed a petition in the Supreme Court on August 27, 2018, asking for an SIT probe into his arrest. Claiming that he was arrested for political reasons by the Congress government, the petition also alleges that Purohit was targeted because he was instrumental in breaking the back of the radicals such as SIMI, ISI terror network etc. The petition also goes on to say that his arrest was a “conspiracy of some political elements to frame the Petitioner in a false case for the purposes of establishing and coining the term ‘Saffron Terror’”.
The truth of the Hindutva terror or the saffron terror in making came to light following the bomb blast in Malegaon, Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008, which killed four people and injured 79. Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu extremist group founded by retired Major of Indian Army Ramesh Upadhyay and Lt. Col. Purohit were said to be behind the blast. Following the investigations by the Maharashtra ATS – led by late Hemant Karkare – Pragya Singh Thakur, Upadhyay, Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni, Rakesh Dhawade, Sudhakar Dwivedi alias Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, Pravin Takalki were arrested. All the arrested, except for Rakesh Dhawade, are out on bail.
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Sanatan Sanstha’s Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik were reportedly ferrying a bomb to be planted in Margao, and died in the blast behind Grace Church on the eve of Diwali on October 16, 2009.The saffron terror is on rise since then. Credits to the lethargy or ignorance of or the political influence on the investigative agencies, this terror network has been successful in establishing itself.
ATS, following the clues by the SIT, had arrested Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanwa Gondhalekar. The ATS, which made the arrests in Nalasopara and Pune on August 10, had recovered about 20 crude bombs, pistols, magazines and explosive material from them. ATS now has arrested Avinash Pawar in Mumbai on August 25, 2018, in the case of hoarding explosives. It is no longer only the question of the political assassination of rationalists or the assassins, but it is about the brain behind a larger conspiracy in the country. During the course of its investigations, the SIT has recovered two lists containing names of 36individuals who had publicly condemned Hindutva politics. These lists were put together in July 2016 and were being updated ever since. All those who have been arrested by the SIT till now, are linked to SS and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS). The SS, which proudly says that they provide the RSS with its missing spiritual outlook, also trains its seekers to use air rifles, and is also known for its extremist ideology of violence.
On August 27, 2018, the SS called for a press meet and reiterated what they have been saying since the Madgaon blasts, that all the accusations against them are false. In this press meet, the spokesperson of SS said, “Few of the arrested Hindutva-vadi activists did participate on local levels in various programmes conducted by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti for uniting Hindus, but they also worked through the medium of other organisations. And, now just because they are arrested, demanding a ban on Sanatan or demanding arrest of the head of Sanatan is ridiculous! It is as good as demanding a ban on Congress or demanding arrest of Rahul Gandhi if a leader of a party supporting Congress is arrested. Although all progressive leaders are targeting a minor spiritual organisation like Sanatan Sanstha, which is propagating spirituality, their real objective is to defame the BJP Government in the name of Hindu terrorism in view of the forthcoming elections.”
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It is in fact true that the so far arrested are not directly the members of SS, but a close look at the work of the SS tells us that these organisations make one body together, and function with different names and agendas to ensure that in case of any criminal investigation, the leaders can safely distance themselves from the perpetrators of the crime. As it is done with any other religious extremist groups, the office bearers, leaders, transactions of the Hindutva organisations functioning in the country should be investigated. It is but natural that the SS finds this demand “ridiculous”, as it would dismantle the terror kingdom that it has contributed in building along with the other Hindutva groups functioning in the country.
As a joint statement released by the progressive individuals condemning the arrests of the activists said, the crackdown on activists is nothing but an attempt by the government to strike terror among those who are fighting for justice for the marginalised. This is also an attempt by the BJP to invent a false enemy, and engage in scaremongering in order to polarise the 2019 elections in its favour. Already, the government and the media houses close to the BJP have been trying to spin a false narrative of a Maoist conspiracy since June, 2018. Terms like “urban naxals” are invented in order to stifle any criticism of the government.
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