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Sanatan Sanstha claims it’s a ‘soft target’


Panaji: Right wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, which is again in focus after a man allegedly having links with it was arrested in connection with the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare, has claimed that it was being wrongly targeted as it did not have any political backing.

“Time and again we are being targeted by the government because they find us as a soft target. We don’t have political backing. Be it Congress or BJP, we have been speaking out against all governments when they are indulging in wrong things,” Sanatan Sanstha’s managing trustee Virendra Marathe said.

“Other Hindu organisations have some or the other backing. They have not been taking the hard stance on certain issues like we do,” he said.

Sameer Gaikwad, an active member of ‘Sanatan Sansthan’ since 1998, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the murder of Pansare at Kolhapur in February this year.

In 2009, a low-intensity bomb went off in Goa for which members of the right-wing organisation were chargesheeted. The blast took place at Madgaon in Goa on October 16, 2009, on the eve of Diwali.

Two activists of the Sanstha had succumbed to injuries when the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) they were carrying in a scooter – also owned by a Sanstha member – exploded prematurely.

“The Sanstha has learnt a lot post 2009…,” Marathe said.He said the Sanatan Sanstha has always been protesting against the writings and lectures of people like Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar.

“But our protests were through legal ways. We had filed cases against them in the courts and also used to submit memorandums against their series of lectures which were against Hindu religion,” he said.

“We never preach violence. I don’t think any of our seekers will pull trigger on anyone. We have a different way of protest which is democratic and legal,” he said.

The name of the right-wing organisation had cropped up after blasts at Thane and Vashi in Maharashtra in 2008 and recovery of explosive material in Panvel.

The Mumbai ATS had chargesheeted six members of the Sanatan Sanstha and its front, the Hindu Janjagriti Samiti, in connection with the blasts.

Following the murder of Pansare, Dabholkar (shot dead in Pune in 2013) and the recent killing of Kannada scholar and social activist M M Kalburgi, the Left parties and rationalist outfits have alleged that the perpetrators of such crimes are connected to right wing and fundamentalist outfits.

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