rom the past 10 years, I have been seeing how the establishment is going staunch against Sanatan Sanstha; here, in Mumbai, under the UPA rule, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar gone to an extent of demanding a ban by coining them as saffron terrorists. Then home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde too attacked the organisation by terming them a threat to the society. When the Congress was still in power, former ATS chief Rakesh Maria had been one of the many to put forward an appeal to ban the Sanatan Sanstha.
Then BJP came to power with its nationalist leader Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of the country; every Hindu was happy because they felt a sense of belongingness for the first time. However, the fate of Sanstha has not changed much.
No support from authorities, aggressive media trials, attacks by so-called liberals, and selective seculars have brought the Sanstha at stake. Sadhaks (followers), sympathisers, critics, and opponents give multiple clarifications for the remarkable growth of the Sanatan Sanstha and its network across the globe. Preaching of Sanstha spiritually channelises them and the Sanstha comprises people who are harmless devotees.
Several arrests, many raids, and much more than the harassment in the name of investigations are a daily routine but no single conviction so far. ATS has randomly grabbed many alleged accused in the pretext of having their links with Sanatan, some are actual members too but most of them have no association with Sanatan Sanstha. Sanstha members are engaged in harmless social and spiritual activities and they come from the oppressed, lower, and lower-middle-class strata to the elite educated class. In fact, that is how they have grown by reaching out to the lower economic class and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and addressing their need for emotional security.
This isn’t a militant class but the patriots who love their religion and beyond that the nation. They crave for Hindu Rashtra, an independent nation for Hindu, but they never want other citizens born here to be discriminated. This is one of the largest organisations of the Hindus that have suffered harassment and bans. Political treachery hatched by the so-called liberals creates a climate in which pro-Hindutva organisations could be banned. Ever since 2008, the Sanatan Sanstha has been charged with involvement in seven cases but nothing has been found against them. The investigations are being carried out but the decision made beforehand to implicate the Sanatan Sanstha. The direction of the investigation needs to be altered. The Media trials need to be stopped; forming an anti-opinion for the Sanstha is extremely wrong.
Well, there are many arrests and so the theories behind the arrests. One recent development is that Sanjeev Punalekar, an advocate associated with the Sanatan Sanstha, has been arrested in connection with the murder of Narendra Dabholkar, along with his close associate Vikram Bhave. The CBI in Pune believes that Punalekar had helped to destroy the weapons used in the crime.
Vikram Bhave was convicted for the 2008 Gadkari Rangayatan Theatre bomb blast in Thane. He spent five years in jail and was released on bail by the Bombay High Court in 2013 because nothing could be proven against him. The CBI imagines that Sharad Kalaskar, one of the shooters of Dabholkar, visited Punalekar’s Mumbai office in June 2018 and informed him about his role in the murder. Vikram Bhave was also present at that time. Punalekar asked Kalaskar to destroy the arms used in the murders of Dr. Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh. On August 23, 2018, Kalaskar dismantled four country-made pistols and threw them from a bridge in the Thane Creek when he was returning to Nalasopara from Pune.
To my surprise, the National Investigating Agency and the Central Bureau of Investigation were given pictures of the five suspects in the Gauri Lankesh murder case. The photographs of five people were being telecasted on the television channels too. They have reached to maximum people through the medium of social media. Then, how did no one see these five who reached Bengaluru in the evening and killed someone? If those pictures were fake, then why did police circulate them?
The CBI has been aware of it for over eight months and since then, they haven’t made any new allegations. Then, why is CBI arresting Punalekar and Bhave now? Did CBI arrest Punalekar just because he is the lawyer of the accused in Dr. Dabholkar’s murder case? Kalaskar had told the Karnataka magistrate on October 18, 2018, about sharing information with Punalekar. The Karnataka Police is investigating Gauri Lankesh murder, the CBI is investigating Dabholkar’s murder case, and the Maharashtra Police is investigating Govind Pansare’s murder.
All these police departments also announced bounty if someone shares any information about the shooters. There were many arrests and confirmations, then what made the police to announce the reward? Police, CBI, and ATS always exchange information with each other; so, what went wrong all of a sudden?
Kalaskar was in the custody of CBI for 18 days in September last year and the CBI would have got this information at that time. Punalekar has been available for the last six months. However, the CBI did not investigate or arrest him earlier. The high court had put pressure to arrest Punalekar and Bhave after reading the sealed report submitted by the CBI.
The CBI had interrogated Bhave in September last year for two days. He is an assistant of Punalekar. The CBI had all the information about Bhave since September last year. Why is he being arrested now? The CBI in 2016 had said that Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar were shooters. Now, they and their same witnesses say that the shooters are Sharad Kalaskar and Sachin Andure. Is this investigation not fair and forward?
Dr. Dabholkar was shot dead at Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune in the morning of August 20, 2013. The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Tawde in the murder of Dabholkar in September 2016 and he was the first to be arrested in this case. That year, CBI had told the court that Vinay Pawar and Sarang Akolkar had fired shots at Dabholkar. Last year, the CBI arrested Kalaskar, Andure, Rajesh Bangera, Amit Degvekar, and Amol Kale, alleging their involvement in the murder.
In February, the agency filed a supplementary chargesheet against Kalaskar and Andure naming them as shooters in Narendra Dabholkar’s murder. Punalekar is the fourth arrest by the central agency in the case. The accusations hurled at Sanatan Sanstha in the Gauri Lankesh murder case are absolutely illogical.
Till date, all the murders in the country have been committed using 7.65 0r 7.32 mm revolvers as these two types of firearms are cheap and they are easily available. An AK47 or an airgun is not used for any kind of murder. Perhaps, now ahead of the elections, the ATS, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the Dabholkar, Lankesh, and Kalburgi murder cases. New theories are coming up years after year and the target is only Sanatan Sanstha; many contradictions and many explanations but the motive behind these killings is yet to be established and some conclusion has to be drawn. Arresting a lawyer means discouraging the other side and making the case one way. In such a scenario, the wisdom to analyse the crime and nab the real culprit are needed the most.
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