Sanatan Sanstha and its Saviours
The ongoing investigations in the cases of the political assassinations of rationalists have reached a juncture where the role of Sanatan Sanstha (SS) in these killings and other terrorist activities is becoming obvious. While the existence of ‘saffron terror’ or Hindutva terror is being established, Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has been is addressing a gathering in Delhi about the “Future of Bharat.” The lecture series is being termed as a follow-up of the recent Second World Hindu Congress in Chicago where the RSS chief had urged Hindus to unite. The RSS chief is also said to be “redefining” Hindutva. An RSS functionary speaking to the Hindustan Times (HT) said, “The RSS wants to shift the focus from the political definition of Hindutva to a more philosophical one. The RSS is not anti-anyone or anything.”
One wonders if the attempt of the Hindutva brain in the country, the RSS, to redefine its own ideology for the public in the times of mob lynchings, attacks on minorities and outing of Hindutva terrorism, is a mere coincidence. Both the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been claiming that the SS, which is an extremist Hindutva organisation based in Goa, is not related to them in anyway.
However, BJP leaders and members, and RSS members on many occasions have been seen attending various events organised by the SS. For example, the All India Hindu Conference hosted by the SS in 2014 had in its attendance, Anil Dhir, a BJP member from Odisha and also a close aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Responding to a journalist’s question on whether or not the RSS had participated in the conference, Dhir had remarked, “What does that mean? Even I am a member of the RSS. But I am here representing Bharat Raksha Manch.”
Bhagwat’s attempt to “redefine” Hindutva to the public, therefore, is not going to change the truth of intolerance, terrorism and crimes committed in the name of Hindutva in the country.
Same group behind three killings
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra police has clearly said that SS is behind the political assassinations of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar in Pune on August 20, 2013; M. M. Kalburgi in Dharwad on August 30, 2015; and Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. The Maharashtra Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is probing Govind Pansare’s case has not made any significant progress as such.
The Maharashtra Police will be investigating the role of the nine arrested (Vaibhav Raut, Sudhanva Gondhalekar, Sharad Kalaskar, Sachin Andure, Avinash Pawar, Vasudev Suryavanshi, Liladhar alias Vijay Lodhi, Shrikant Pangarkar and Ganesh Kapale ) by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) till now in the Nalasopara explosives case, in the cases of these political assassinations too.
The political assassinations of Dabholkar and Pansare are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and SIT of Maharashtra, respectively. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Karnataka and Karnataka SIT are investigating the cases of Kalburgi and Lankesh, respectively. Even though the four cases are being investigated by four different investigative agencies in Karnataka and Maharashtra, the arrested and suspected in all the four cases are associated to the SS and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS). The arrests made by the Karnataka SIT and their confessions related to the Gauri Lankesh case introduced a conspiracy of the SS and HJS, and other Hindutva organisations affiliated to them, to kill all those who spoke against Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra.
Upon being alerted by the SIT, the Maharashtra ATS cracked down and made the arrests in the explosives case. All the nine arrested by the ATS are sympathisers of the SS. The Maharashtra police’s claim that these accused might also have been involved in the assassination yet again establishes that ‘Hindutva terrorist organisation’ is not paranoia or propaganda as what spokespersons of these organisations have been claiming so far.
According to the Hindustan Times, the Investigation Report (IR) of the ATS mentions a certain Murali who was the mastermind behind these assassinations. It also says that a 2014 meeting of right-wing organisations in Goa which was hosted by the Sanatan Sanstha, which is headquartered in the state, was one of the important milestones in the terrorist plots hatched by Murali.
Parashuram Waghmare, associated with the Sri Ram Sene, who was arrested by the Karnataka SIT had confessed to have assassinated Gauri Lankesh to “save Hindutva.” The investigation with Waghmare had also revealed the existence of a certain terrorist organisation of the hardline Hindutva recruits functioning in five states: Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. The SIT had noted that this unnamed organisation was a machinery functioning behind these planned killings of anti-Hindutva voices.
Is Murali, who is named in the IR, the head of this organisation? If the meeting of right-wing organisations in Goa hosted by the SS in 2014 had Murali and his terrorist organisation in attendance, then what is the role of SS in this organisation?
These are the two questions that are in front of the investigating agencies now.
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