‘BAN SANATAN SANSTHA’ DEMAND GROWS AFTER ITS MEMBERS CONFESS ROLE IN TERROR BLASTS

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Leaders of Sanatan Sanstha addressing a press conference.

Caravan News

MUMBAI — Following the on-camera confession of at least two members of Sanatan Sanstha, political parties as well as civil rights activists are demanding the government to ban the Hindutva outfit.

India Today TV channel on Monday broadcast some video tapes wherein members of Sanatan Sanstha – Mangesh Dinkar Nikam and Haribhau Krishnna Divekar – confessed their role in terror blasts in Maharashtra in 2008. Ironically, both were acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.

The name of Sanatan Sanstha figured in the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad’s charge-sheet for bomb attacks outside theatres and cinema halls in the state.

The ATS had charged six suspects — Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, Haribhau Krishna Divekar, Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari, Vikram Vinay Bhave, Santosh Sitaram Angre and Hemant Tukaram Chalke – for planned bomb attacks between January 2008 and June 2008. However, in 2011, the trial court convicted Gadkari and Bhave and acquitted the four other suspects.

“I was at Vashi. I planted it [the IED] and came out. That was my role,” Mangesh Dinkar Nikam, 45, confessed to the undercover reporters of India Today who met him at his home in Satara district of Maharashtra.

Haribhau Krishnna Divekar, 58, said his involvement in the 2008 bomb attacks was much larger than what he had been unsuccessfully prosecuted for. He claimed that the police had recovered explosives from his possession. However, ATS charge-sheet didn’t mention this evidence.

At his home in Raigad, Divekar confessed: “When I went there, police came here and conducted searches and investigation, I handed them what I had with me.” When the reporter asked him what he handed the police, Divekar said: “That time, there were one-two revolvers and detonators, it is called detonator right, gelatin [sticks] and digital meters. Around 20 gelatins were there and 23 detonators. They took away all those things.”

Ban Sanatan Sanstha

After these confessions on-camera, the state government has promised action against the culprits. However, Opposition parties and journalists and social activists have demanded ban on the saffron outfit.

“With the proof that we have seen today, our government will take action. That’s not all. If they were acquitted, we will look into it and see if they can be tried (again) under the law. We will forward all the evidence to the Centre,” Maharashtra minister of state for home, Deepak Kesarkar was quoted as saying by India Today.

However, Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan demanded an immediate ban on the Hindutva outfit Sanatan Sanstha.

“If we look at the background of Sanatan Sanstha, it’s a very murky story. We have four murders, a bomb factory in Thane district. This Sanstha was involved in bomb-making in Goa,” Chavan alleged. “I am wondering how come such organisations — which are secret assassination societies — are allowed to exist. Who is protecting these organisations? Why are we not able to apprehend the person who pulled the trigger?” he asked.

CPI-M said: “So, finally Hindutva Terror is very much there & is active. It has killed rationalists like Kalburgi,Dabholkar, Pansare & Gauri Lankesh. This is straight from the horse’s mouth, & these people have been endorsed by many BJP/RSS leaders. So what does the have to say now?”

In 2008, several terror blasts were carried out in Maharashtra and other parts of the country, killing over 100 and wounding couple of hundred others. At Malegaon of Maharashtra, a terror blast had targeted a Muslim gathering near graveyard on the night of Shab-e Barat. Several saffron activists including Pragya Singh Thakur and Col. Purohit are accused in the case. Initially, Muslim youths were picked and prosecuted for the blasts but they were acquitted by the court.

Members of the outfit have also been found involved in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh and academics Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Narendra Dabholkar.

Some journalists and activists have also demanded ban on Sanatan Sanstha.

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