Sanatan Sanstha’s headquarters in Ponda in Goa is the center of all the terror activities, claims an investigation by India Today. The investigative team of India Today spoke to and captured Mangesh Dinkar Nikam and Haribhau Krishna Divekar, both sadhaks of Sanatan Sanstha, who were acquitted by the trial court ten years ago in relation to the bomb blast cases in Vashi and Thane, confessing on camera of being directly involved in planting the bombs in the said incident. While Nikam confessed to planting the explosives in Vashi to scare people who were there to watch a Marathi play, ‘Amhi Pachpute’, which according to the Sanatan Sanstha depicted Hindu gods and goddesses in the wrong light, Divekar confessed to possessing the explosives.
Nikam was acquitted by the trial court seven years ago in connection with the 2008 bomb attacks in Thane, Panvel and Vashi. Speaking with the India Today team, Nikam confessed to planting the explosives in Vashi by saying, “I was at Vashi. I planted it [the IED] and came out. That was my role.” 45 year-old Nikam also shared that he has been a Sanstha seeker since 2000 and has confessed that the plan for the attack was prepared at the Sanstha facility in Panvel, Maharashtra. Divekar is a seeker of Sanstha too and was acquitted due to lack of evidence. He confessed to the India Today TV's investigating team that he had been in possession of explosives - something that the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) didn't record in its charge-sheet.
The terror organisation that claims of creating an army of 4 lakh followers to wage a religious war to establish a Hindu Rashtra, has been in several instances accused of terror activities. The Sanstha, which was established by Jayant Balaji Athavale, a trained Hypnotherapist in 1999, calls itself a “spiritual” organisation. This mask of spirituality was torn down in 2009 when the organisation was named in Madgaon blast in 2009; since then the organisation’s name has surfaced in relation to various other cases of bomb blasts and murders. The ongoing investigations by the CBI, CID, and SIT of Karnataka and Maharashtra in the political assassinations of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M. M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh has again brought the Sanstha into the limelight.
Following the resurfacing of its name, the demand to ban the Sanatan Sanstha has escalated. The question that whether banning the organisation is the solution is debatable. However, the million dollar question of why the founder and office bearers of the organisation have not been investigated yet still remains; C.L Patil, SHO of Goa Police, and Salim Sheikh, the ATS inspector speaking with the investigative team of India Today have stated on camera that the Sanstha receives a political patronage from a certain politician whose wife is a sadhak of the Sanstha and this in turn creates a pressure on the investigative agencies.
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Meanwhile, when the recorded videos were telecast by India Today, Sanatan Sanstha launched a hate campaign in their typical style by publishing the pictures of the journalists of the investigative team.
The hate post which has been published on its website claims that the advocate of Sanatan Sanstha, Sanjiv Punalekar had sent a letter to the Maharashtra government on September 27, 2018. In this letter Punalekar said, “Two persons recently met few of those acquitted from Thane, Vashi and Margao bomb blast cases and tried to gather information. In many cases of alleged ‘Hindu terrorism’, the accused have been acquitted but the cases are yet to be solved. So the question arises if the real masterminds of these cases have sent these people to gather information. These persons had the addresses and current contact numbers of the above people. These persons who were dressed as Hindus could be Pakistanis or even ISIS terrorists.”
Also Read: Explosives Recovered From a Hindutva Proponent and a Gau Rakshak
This is not the first time that the Sanstha has resorted to such hate campaigns against those who have tried to expose them. It is an attempt by the Sanstha to create false narratives and provoke its followers who function on the directions of its cult leader Jayant Balaji Athavale. Now the question is, will the investigative agencies and the governments of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, and also the central government consider this investigation as an evidence?