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SIMI and Sanatan on a same platter?

According to Congress if a ban is imposed on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) why can’t it be implemented on Sanatan Sanstha too?

SanatanAfter the arrest of Sanatan Sanstha member Samir Gaikwad for his alleged role in the murder of social activist Govind Pansare the Congress-NCP has come forward to demand a ban to be imposed on the outfit. Residents of Kolhapur have already initiated a signature campaign to press forward for demanding a ban on the outfit. Former Maharashtra Chief Minister (CM) and Congress MP Ashok Chavan, demanded an “urgent” ban on Sanatan Sanstha. According to Congress if a ban is imposed on Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) why can’t it be implemented on Sanatan Sanstha too? Sanatan Sanstha has been in controversy for its extreme right wing ideology and was on radar from last two years, after the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune. Activists of this organisation have also been arrested for their role in a blast in Thane’s Gadkari theatre. Its members were also arrested in another blast case in Madgaon, Goa.

According to Congress leader and former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan, the previous Congress-led government in the state had urged the UPA government at the Centre to ban the right wing outfit in 2011, but the Home Ministry did not act upon it. Prithviraj Chavan’s party colleague and former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, however, said if Chavan was serious about outlawing Sanatan Sanstha he should have called him and asked him about that, instead of merely sending a report to the Centre. Shinde, however, said he took over as Home Minister at the Centre only in 2013 but added Chavan’s failure to take up the issue directly with the Centre reflected his ‘carelessness’.

“This organisation (Sanathan Sanstha) poses a threat and attacks freedom of thought which is a cultural tradition of Maharashtra. There is an urgent need to ban it with immediate effect”, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said.

Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil also made the same demand in Kolhapur. After meeting Pansare’s wife and daughters-in-law, Vikhe-Patil said, “I demand an immediate ban on the activities of Sanatan Sanstha,” and said, “The role of Fadanvis government is suspicious in this regard as it has not taken strong action into the murder case.”

“The Congress-UPA government did not act on these organizations when it was involved in bomb blasts and other terror activities and now they have awakened and demanding for a ban on the outfit. The BJP government follows Hindutva agenda and they are backing these organisations” said Bhushan Kadam.

“Sanatan Sanstha been always surrounded by controversies, earlier Sanatan members were arrested for involvement in bomb blast activities and now they are being suspected for Pansare and Dabholkar murder case. Where are these organizations heading? If suspected members are part of Sanatan Sanstha and guilty, I definitely want the government to take strict action against them” said Samarth Devale, Graphic Designer

“I think we should be patient and let the investigations begin. Whenever there is an attack on other religion then people raise their fingers on Hindu organizations which is unjustified. But if Gaikwad is proved guilty, then the government should impose a ban on the outfit” said Parth Kulkarni, IT Analyst

Sujit Prabakar, a Kandivali resident said, “According to me Sanatan Sanstha should be banned as it has been responsible for indulging in unlawful activities. Few years there were reports about political parties demanding ban on this outfit but government has not taken any action in this regard.”

The Congress-NCP government had proposed a ban on Sanatan Sanstha as two of its workers, Vikram Bhave and Ramesh Gadkari, were convicted in 2011 and awarded 10 years life imprisonment for the bomb blast in the parking area of Gadkari Rangaytan auditorium in Thane on June 4, 2008, to protest against a play “Amhi Satpute”, which they claimed was showing Hindu Gods in poor light. But the ban was never implemented.

Abhay Vartak, Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson said, “Sanatan Sanstha is a spiritual and patriotic organisation; it is unnecessarily defamed due to unrestrained accusations of progressive elements despite the lack of any conclusive evidence. It appears that these so-called progressive elements have hatched a conspiracy to prevent Sanatan Sanstha from building up a mission at the national level by undertaking various movements to create public awareness such as exposing scams in the Temple Managements, protection of the environment, preventing dishonour to the National Flag, etc. We are sure that Sanatan Sanstha will come out unscathed of the barrage of accusations hurled at it and will resume its mission to nourish patriotism in the society with the renewed vigour”.

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