Inside The Sakal Hindu Samaj: a TV Anchor, an Ex-BJP MLA and Rampant Hate Speech (The Quint)

An amorphous organisation of right-wing outfits is evading the law to fuel communal divide in Maharashtra.

Hate Watch


Gautam Rabadia, a resident of Mumbai’s Andheri, joined the Bajrang Dal — a Hindu nationalist organisation — in 2013.

“My sangathan (outfit) and I have been fighting against love jihad, land jihad, and forceful conversions for over 10 years. In fact, not just us, VHP, RSS, Durga Vahini, and several other organisations have been working for a similar cause. But now, we have decided to fight it together with the common people joining us, at least in Maharashtra,” the 36-year-old told The Quint.

The ‘coming together’ which Rabadia referred to, is in the form of an organisation called the Sakal Hindu Samaj — a coalition of several right-wing Hindu nationalist outfits — which is on a spree of organising public gatherings across Maharashtra.

At a Sakal Hindu Samaj rally in Mumbai. (Photo: Twitter)

As per a report published by the Indian Express, at least 50 such rallies have been organised across districts the state since November 2022.

Rabadia, a regular at these rallies, said that their aim is to ‘save Hindus’ and these rallies will continue till the state government acts on their request to bring in laws to safeguard the religion.

But what is the Sakal Hindu Samaj? Who are the people leading these protests? What are the main themes of conversations at these rallies? and what laws are being flouted?

The Quint spoke to people who participate in these gatherings, went through broadcasts of speeches delivered by leaders on stage, and accessed paperwork related to complaints registered against them to understand the social and political impact of a rise of the Sakal Hindu Samaj and hate speech in Maharashtra.

Fighting The ‘Hindu Cause’ — One Rally at a Time

On Friday, 24 March, Nashik’s Hutatma Anant Kanhere Maidan, formerly called the Golf Club Ground, was awash with saffron.

With at least 4,000-5,000 people in attendance, Suresh Chavhanke, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News, was on stage. “1,825 cases have been registered against us. After this rally in Nashik, this number will go up. But we aren’t afraid, this is the land of (VD) Savarkar,” said Chavhanke, whose news channel is infamous for broadcasting communally charged speeches against minority communities, as he greeted the crowd by calling them Hindu ‘shers and shernis‘.

Through the course of his hour-long speech, Chavhanke made multiple references to conspiracy theories on ‘love jihad’, ‘land jihad’, forcible religious conversions, and a ’10-point offer telling Muslim women why it’s better to marry Hindu men over Muslim men.’

This rally, came only days after multiple FIRs were registered against Chavhanke, suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA T Raja Singh, and several other individuals associated with an organisation called the Sakal Hindu Samaj, at four different Police Stations in Aurangabad district.

In the FIR registered at the Kranti Chowk police station, Chavhanke and Singh were charged under sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds such as religion, race, place of birth, residence, and language), 34 (criminal act done by multiple people with common intention), and 505 (circulating statements, reports, or rumours with intent to cause fear or alarm in public) of the Indian Penal Code.

T Raja Singh at the Sakal Hindu Samaj rally in Aurangabad. (Photo: Facebook)

Chavhanke and his group, however, remained unfazed by the complaint and went on to organise a similar rally in Nashik within a week.

It is pertinent to note that the FIR filed in Aurangabad stated that when a person called Bhagyatushar Joshi, who claimed to be a member of the coordination committee of an organisation called the Sakal Hindu Samaj, came seeking permission for a public rally, the Aurangabad Police denied the permission citing the law and order situation in the district.

“The organisation, however, went ahead with the rally which had approximately 15,000-20,000 people in attendance,” the FIR said.

What followed were incidents of rioting and damage to public property allegedly by suspects returning from this rally…

This story was originally published in Read the full story here


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