In series of investigative exposes, Canary Trap will report on the proof dug up by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad between 2008 and 2011. The former Congress-NCP government and the current BJP government just sat on the evidence for politically expedient reasons.
BJP MP and former Union Home Secretary R K Singh says during his tenure in UPA II the Maharashtra government did not any furnish any proof justifying law enforcement action against extremist Hindu cult group Sanatan Sanstha. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik questioned the integrity of the former home secretary by alleging that Singh refused to take any action on the then Maharashtra government’s recommendation in 2011 to proscribe outfit. “UPA government is criticised for not accepting the state government’s request to ban Sanatan. But if people like Singh sit on the file, the decision cannot be taken,” Malik alleged.
Irrespective of whether the state government furnished proof or not, fact is that Singh would have certainly known that the Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in 2008 filed a 1,020-page chargesheet against six members of Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate Hindu revivalist group the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), for setting off bomb blasts in Thane, Vashi and Panvel. Here’s the proof linking members of Sanatan Sanstha with the blast accused.
In August 2008, Vikram Bhave, father of Thane blast accused, while speaking to media eulogized his son’s involvement in this manner: “Whatever these people have done, they have done it for hindutva.” He said he is proud of his son Vinayak’s role in the bomb blast at Thane’s Gadkari Rangyatan. Bhave is a veteran and active member of Sanatan Sanstha from Varsai, infamous as the hometown of Nathuram Godse. Bhave says he did not know of his son’s plans to bomb the auditorium, but was not prepared to condemn the attack.
One of several pieces of evidence in the ATS chargesheet are several documents that show Sanatan Sanstha’s payments to its members. In the document scooped by Canary Trap (photos above), Bhave’s name is clearly visible as one of those in the payroll of this extremist Hindu cult organization. Bhave’s only regret when he spoke to the media in 2008 was if he knew his “son was planning to do this I would have advised him to wait because Hindus have become sensationless”.
Across large tracts of Maharashtra, especially in Chiplun, Satara and Nasik, Sanatan Sanstha has established its deep presence. Several retired police and armed forces personnel have joined its ranks. Stories about how members of this extremist organization have brainwashed youths to leave their jobs to join the cult are legendary. But these stories and voices of victim families haven’t yet made it to the media.
Sanatan Sanstha’s modus operandi is to entice semi-educated and educated youth in the hinterlands of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka to join the cult as brave defenders of the Hindu faith. After the recruitment the youngsters are put through a training schedule, which churns them out as hardcore extremists who are required to take revenge on anyone the organization deems as having brought disrepute to their version of Hinduism.
Even though the former Home Secretary has conveniently escaped accountability by suggesting that during his tenure Maharahstra government did not offer any proof, the fact is that the government of the day in the state is run by the BJP. All that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh need to do is go through the evidence submitted by the ATS in 2008 and take appropriate action.
BJP must ensure that extremist Hindu fringe groups do not bring shame and disrepute to India’s democracy. India’s ruling party must acknowledge and act on those Hindu extremists who believe in killing those who oppose their views.
Canary Trap Editorial: A big window of opportunity has opened up for the BJP-led NDA government to take legal action against all forms of religious extremism because religious fundamentalism has no place in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, progressive and liberal society. Congress, Left parties and caste-based parties have pandered to religious extremism for vote-bank politics. The BJP, with its decisive positioning as the confident voice of the majority Hindu community in India, must purposefully and meaningfully cleanse its stable by allowing law enforcement agencies to take action against extremist fringe elements within its fold. This will provide it the credibility and legitimacy to effectively deal with other forms of religious extremism in India and promote communal amity.