‘There were talks of banning Sanatan Sanstha in Cong rule’

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 26 August 2018

The Sanatan Sanstha is a fundamentalist right-wing organisation operating from Goa and has thousands of members around the country, especially in Maharashtra. The sanstha has been notorious for its communal stand and alleged involvement in threats of violence against thinkers, journalists and social progressive figures.

Pune: Under the pressure of criticism for allegedly not taking action against Sanatan Sanstha while the Congress-NCP allinace was in power, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, has come out with a statement saying that the Congress government’s stand about the sanstha was always clear and there were talks of banning the organisation. The organisation is currently facing flak for its alleged involvement of its members in murders of rationalists and also a possible terror plot.

The Sanatan Sanstha is a fundamentalist right-wing organisation operating from Goa and has thousands of members around the country, especially in Maharashtra. The sanstha has been notorious for its communal stand and alleged involvement in threats of violence against thinkers, journalists and social progressive figures. 

Recently, a few of its members were arrested for links to the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, author MM Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh, after which the earlier Congress government faced flak from social circles for being passive about the sanstha. Chavan has said that misinformation is being circulated about his government’s stand on the sanstha.

The statement issued by him states, “There is a lot of misinformation being spread about the Congress-NCP alliance government’s handling of the Sanatan Sanstha. The then government had taken many preventive actions against the organisation. Members of the Sanatan Sanstha were facing many charges and were arrested in many cases like the bomb blast in Thane. Considering the history of the sanstha, the alliance government had sent a detailed report with an appeal to ban the organisation to the Centre, on April 11, 2011.”

“The appeal to ban the organisation was made much before the murder of Narendra Dabholkar and was not a reaction to a single incident but based on the reports prepared by our security agencies over the years. In 2011, when a PIL was filed with the Bombay HC with the State government as a party, the alliance government had kept its stand firm before the court too,” the statement says. Our administration was clear about the sanstha and its anti-social, hateful and communal nature. The growing menace of such organisations in recent times is worrisome,” the statement states. 

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