By Subhash Gatade
PANAJI: Goa Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders like Manohar Parrikar have expressed support for the Sanatan Sanstha, the Hindu outfit blamed for the pre-Diwali blasts that killed two people said on Wednesday.
Virendra Marathe, managing trustee of the Sanstha, named BJP state president Shripad Naik, leader of opposition Parrikar and party legislator Dayanand Mandrekar as politicians who stood by them in the aftermath of the blasts in Margao, 35 km from here.
Police say the blasts were engineered and executed by members of the Sanstha.
“The BJP MLAs supported us. They advised us to sue the media for defamation, for slandering the Sansthan. Dayanand Mandrekar, Parrikar and Shripad Naik supported us,” Marathe said at a press conference in Panaji.
Goa BJP leaders support us: Sanatan Sanstha
IANS 28 October 2009, 02:35pm IST ( Times of India, 28 th October 2009)
How much time does the powers that be need to make any significant move when they unearth a conspiracy hatched by a self proclaimed spiritual group to ‘massacre dozens of innocent people’ supposedly to vindicate their weltanshauung and instigate a communal riot ? Do they keep quibbling over minor details and let the real masterminds obfuscate their obvious links with the executioners ? Do they keep talking in multiple voices and make themselves vulnerable over attacks by oppositional parties supposedly for their ‘dilly-dallying’ ?
It has been more than a fortnight that one witnessed a blast in Margao, where two people belonging to ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ carrying explosives in their scooter were killed and another bomb was detected – around twenty kilometres from the first spot – in a truck carrying 40 youth and a Narkasur for competition -which exposed a sinister conspiracy to instigate communal riots, but one is yet to see any concrete step on part of the government to nab the real terrorists and break their wider network.
The home minister of Goa, Mr Ravi Naik had also categorically stated ( Mail Today, 19 th Oct 2009) that ‘The Scooter on which the bombs were being carried belongs to Sanatan Sanstha. It seems to be a clear attempt to create communal discord in the state.” Many senior police officers of the state had also expressed similar opinions. There was also talk of questioning wife of a cabinet minister herself because of her proximity to the extremist outfit including the proposal that government is contemplating ban on the controversial organisation.
The Herald, a prominent daily from Goa had rather voiced concerns of a the vast majority of Goans ( not to say the majority of people in the subcontinent) when it asked the powers that be to ( Herald front-page editorial, 18 October 2009) to take urgent steps to curb this phenomenon and had also delineated the real objectives of the perpetrators :
The blast in Margao, as well as the one averted in Sancoale, have brought to the fore the ugly face of terrorism in Goa. Fortunately, the bomb exploded before it could be planted, killing Malgonda Patil and critically injuring Yogesh Naik, the terrorists who planned to massacre dozens of innocent people. The bomb in Sancoale was detected by an alert youth. Had it exploded where it was planted – in a truck carrying 40 youth and a Narkasur for a competition – it would have taken a large number of lives. Those who made and planted it are yet to be brought to justice.
This dastardly terrorist attack was, first, intended to target the Diwali Narkasur festival, which is unique to Goa and Goans, but which the Hindu fundamentalist Sanatan Sanstha denounces as a glorification of evil. The second objective, far more sinister, was to instigate religious riots in Margao, which has a history of communal tension. This cowardly attempt to hurt Goan traditions and destroy the State’s communal harmony must be put down swiftly and decisively.
This is the second terrorist act linked to the Sanatan Sanstha, which is active mainly in Maharashtra and Goa, and has its national headquarters at Ramnathi. ..
It is clear that if enough pressure is not put on the powers that be, it is possible that much on the lines of Kanpur blasts and Nanded blasts – which also witnessed deaths of Hindutva terrorists – this blast would also get erased from people’s memory.
For a layperson also it is easy to see how majoritarian terrorism has raised its ugly head after a brief lull in the aftermath of Malegaon bomb blast and the painstaking investigation undertaken by ATS Chief Hemant Karkare to nab the real culprits. It need not be underlined that this no nonsense officer was under tremendous pressure supposedly for going after top honchos of the Hindutva terrorism network.And looking back it is clear why he had asked for banning this organisation and its affiliated groups when he led the investigation in the Gadkari Rangayatan and similar other blasts which were engineered by activists associated with ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ and its affiliate ‘Hindu Janjagruti Samity’. Karkare had forwarded the proposal some time before he was gunned down by terrorists in 26/11 terror attacks.
In fact if Maharashtra government had acted on a proposal forwarded by the Anti-Terrorism Squad last year, then one could have saved lot of innocent blood spilling on the streets..As of now a proposal to ban the Sanstha is pending with the Maharashtra government since last year, a top ATS officer is reported to have told the media.
To proscribe an organisation, the state government has to forward its proposal to the centre, which takes a call after considering the recommendations. This had not been done, official sources said.
On June 4, 2008, there was a blast in the basement parking of Gadkari Rangayatan in Thane where Marathi play Amhi Pachpute was being staged. Probe revealed that members of the Sanstha had threatened the playwright not to stage the play, which was a satire on Mahabharat.
Around the same time there were two minor blasts in theatres at Panvel and Vashi in Navi Mumbai [ Images ] where Hindi film Jodha Akbar was being screened. Investigations linked these blasts to Sanstha members.
Apart from its involvement in these terrorist acts, it is also being revealed that members of Sanatan Sanstha were also involved in Miraj riots too. (Express, October 21, 2009). In fact Malgounda Patil, an active member of the Sanstha who was carrying explosives and died in the Goa blast, was in Miraj for two weeks when the construction of a controversial arch in the town sparked off communal riots.
The Superintendent of Police of Sangli Mr Krishna Prakash told Express reporter
“We had information that Sanatan Sanstha members were distributing weapons to Hindus during the riots. We had also seized a four-wheeler of the Sanatan Sanstha carrying swords and chains. Three Sanatan Sanstha members were arrested in the case.” According to him they had earlier arrested a female member of Sanstha identified as Bhakti Joglekar, for distributing pamphlets with communal content and there are so far five offences against Sanatan Sanstha in Sangli…”.
In an extensive coverage of the ‘Whiff of Hindutva Terror in Goa’ Mailtoday ( 20 th October 2009) tells us how ‘Sanatan Sanstha is no stranger to communal conspiracies. From riots to bombing theatres, this organisation was allegedly involved in many acts of violence in Maharashtra before the bomb blasts in Goa ripped apart its spiritual facade.” (Outfit No Stranger to Communal Conspiracies, Krishna Kumar) Of course, it does not forget to mention the BJP links of the fanatic group. ” Like the Malegaon blasts, this case too has a BJP link. One of the Sanstha’s top leaders in Miraj, Madhusudan Kulkarni, has been seen at political rallies of the party.In a thinly veiled argument on its website the Sanstha exhorts Hindus to attack Muslims and be better prepared during riots.”
“violence towards evildoers is non-violence itself” and “it is a sin not to slay an evildoer”!
– Jayant Athavale
Sanatan Sanstha which talks of spreading spirituality as a science and was founded in 1990 by a a clinical hypnotherapist Jayant Balaji Athavale from Mumbai, conducts discourses and workshops on spirituality and religion at its ashrams and also known to impart ‘self defence training to its members.It is really difficult to believe how an organisation which supposedly ‘aims to present religious mysticism in a scientific language for the curious and to guide seekers’ and which ‘conducts weekly spiritual meetings, discourses, child guidance classes, workshops on spirituality, training in self-defense and campaigns to create awareness of righteousness’ to further these aims can double up as an organisation which can invite prosecution under ‘laws meant for unlawful and terrorist organisations’.
The other part of the story is that here ‘destruction of evildoers’ is an integral part of ‘spiritual practice’. And this ‘destruction’ is to be done at ‘physical and psychological level’. Interestingly to facilitate this ‘Dharm Kranti’ (religious revolution) the seekers are also provided with training in arms – rifles, trishuls, lathis and other weapons.(www.sanatan.org)
It need be told that apart from the ‘magnum opus’ of the founder of SS and HJS, Jayant Athavale which is called “Science of Spirituality’ – which is book of 21 volumes – and other texts about ‘Divine Kingdom’, ‘Arts for God Realisation’ and ‘Spiritual Experiences of Seekers’ etc. a very important text in the training of the seekers is Texts on Defence where seekers of divine kingdom are also imparted training with air rifles ( Vol 3 H – Self Defence Training, Chapter 6, Page 108-109)
It would be opportune to discuss a portion from this text which trains the seeker in ‘Firing’ . In 7 a. it trains the seeker in standing stance (kada pavitra) [shooting in the standing posture] in section 7 b. it discusses Sitting Stance (baitha pavitra) [shooting in the sitting stance]. It also shows the photograph of Vinay Panvalkar wearing a hat showing the different positions.
7 B. Sitting Stance (baitha pavitra) [shooting in the sitting stance]
1. Load the rifle according to steps ‘A to F’ of point 6. Loading the rifle.’ Then proceed as given below.
2. Ready to fire – one ( fire ke liye sajja -ek) :
Once this command is given touch the right knee to the ground. Bending the toes of the right foot support the foot on its ball. At that time the left knee should be bent and kept in front of the right one. ….
Another writeup in ‘Goan Observer’ also displays seven photographs of Vinay Panvalkar which have appeared in another of Sanatan Sanstha’s publication [‘Swasaunrakshan Prashikshan’ (Self Defence Training)] While four photographs show training by rifle, two photographs show how to attack someone with a long Trishul and the last one is the usual fight with hands. The same writeup makes an interesting point vis-a-vis HJS/SS and RSS/VHP/Bajrang Dal.
According to the writeup
..It would appear that these hardline organisations have come up because of the disillusion meant amongst hardcore fanatic Hindus that the BJP and the RSS have compromised their core values for political gains. In fact though the Sansthan boasted of over two lakh members when it started in 1999, many members were expelled because they were proved to be ‘corrupt’. Unlike the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists the activists of the Sanstha maintain a very low profile which makes it difficult to combat their mischief .
The same page carries a photograph of Jayant Athavale, founder of HJS, and SS, in military fatigue exhorting people to ‘Become Hindu Naxalites to combat the Naxalites who are the biggest enemies of Dharamrajya’.
Jayant Athavale’s magnum opus ‘Science of Spirituality’ in its chapter ‘Spiritual Practice of Protecting Seekers and Destroying Evildoers’ ( Vol I, E, Page 64-65) underlines the importance of Guru to undertake spiritual practice’. It clearly absolves the seeker from any act of destroying evildoers.
B 2. One chanting continuously : The action of destroying evildoers becomes a non-action only if done along with chanting the Lord’s name, as then it becomes a mere act (Kriya). Then the Law of Karma (Action) does not apply.
B 3. One who is permitted by saints or Gurus to undertake this spiritual practice: Destroy evildoers if you have been advised by saints or Gurus to do so. Then these acts are not registered in your name.
According to the book
Timetable of the spiritual practice
a. Year 1997-1999 A.D. ( 3 Years) : Impressing upon the mind that ‘destruction of evildoers’ is a part of the spiritual nature.
b. Year 2000-2006 A.D. ( 7 years) : Actual destruction of evildoers at physical, psychological and spiritual levels.
c. Year 2007-2022 A.D. ( 16 Years ) : Generating the potential to run the kingdom of the Absolute truth
d. Year 2023 – 2025 A.D. ( 3 Years) : Commencement of the regime of Absolute Truth ( divine kingdom)
In Vol 4 of the book ‘Texts about the Divine Kingdom’ which focusses itself on Social Upliftment, National Security it measures someone’s ‘spiritual progress’ when he is compelled to ‘kill someone.’ (Page 48-49)
6 C 4. Test of Spiritual Progress : One will perceive how much spiritual progress one has made only when he is compelled to kill someon. It is easy to make statements like ‘everything is Brahman’ (God)’ When actually performing the act of killing, if the mind remains steady and does not waver at all like Arjun’s did, only then can one say that one has realised Brahman.
It also presents its ideas about who would ‘bring about a revolution’
6 D. Only warrior seekers (Kshatravir) can bring about a revolution.
6 D 1. Warrior seekers who have an unparalleled combination of a selfless attitude, unity, intense motivation to undertake the mission and faith in it The Lord. It is not an easy task to oust evil politicians. To achieve this, one will have to combat their ruffian party workers, the police force and the army under their command. Therefore, this is certainly not the work of selfish politicians. The people have experienced in the last 54 years after independence that despite granting opportunity to various parties to assume power, replacement of one politician by another does not bring about any change in society.
For an organisation which is so ultra-sensitive about the slightest imagined insult to Hinduism — imagined or real — the literature of the Sanatan Sanstha is rife with attacks on other religions. Apart from valorising violence through its literature and actions, the organisations have achieved notoriety for abusing other religions and their prophets. e.g In one of its issues of ‘Sanatan Prabhat’ ( 9 th Dec 2005) – a newspaper brought out by it from many districts in Maharashtra and Goa, it ‘exposes the real nature of Bible’ by calling it a ‘manual for teaching immorality’ which discusses in detail ‘ the rape of a sister by a brother’. There are frequent references to the Bible, alleging that it promotes incest and other immoral practices.It is part of its usual practice to show a Pastor with horns whose sole agenda is proselytisation. In September 2004, ‘Sanatan Prabhat’ carried a statement saying that the body of St. Francis Xavier should be destroyed. It has also carried other scurrilous articles about Goa’s patron saint. Its humiliation of Islam and Prophet Muhammad nearly created a riot like situationi in Miraj ( First week of November 2005) and the imprisonment of the editor of ‘Sanatan Prabhat’.
Interestingly all talk of Hindu Unity in the worldview of HJS falls at the altar caste and other regressive practices in our society
Believers are exhorted to guide offenders away from the path of incorrect practice. The volumes in the series support the regressive and obscurantist practices of the past, including the caste system, talking repeatedly about the proper role of various castes in society.Herald (Panjim, 22 June 2008)
Herald (Panjim, 22 June 2008) concludes with the observation
After having created an ideological framework which creates a fundamentalist mindset and makes it the ‘duty’ of the true seeker to defend the faith against all those who are projected as attacking it, it is disingenuous of the HJS and the SS to disclaim responsibility for the acts engaged in by their members. Ex-members of these organisations talk about the cult-like atmosphere that is created, with unquestioning obedience being stressed. Members are then brainwashed into believing that Hinduism is under siege. Against this background, and with all the talk about ‘defence’ and ‘elimination of evildoers’, it is hardly surprising that adherents begin to explore ways of taking direct action to defend the faith. In this regard, the philosophy of the HJS and the SS is not all that different from the philosophy of terrorists, whom they claim to oppose.
In a detailed writeup in ‘Goan Observer’ ( Protecting Hinduism : Sanatan Style, Pradnya Gaonkar, 28 June 2008) the ‘covert activities of self-professed protectors of Hinduism, the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti,’ have been looked into. The author writes that “THE CHIEF Minister, Digamber Kamat, and the Leader of the Opposition, Manohar Parrikar, not to mention the IGP Kishen Kumar should be more concerned over the terrorist activities of the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti than chasing imaginary naxalites.” Apart from their strong presence in Goa at rural levels the author also brings to the fore the political patronage received by them at the highest levels.
The investigations done by ‘Goan Observer “..[r]evealed that Jyoti Sudin Dhavlikar, wife of the MGP leader and Transport Minister in the Digamber Kamat government Sudin Dhavlikar, is in charge of the Goa Unit of the Sanatan Sanstha. Goan Observer also understands that the IGP, Kishen Kumar, despite being directed to investigate the activities of the Sanatan Sanstha in Goa, did not follow it up seriously because of political pressure…The Marcaim MGP MLA, Sudin Dhavlikar, and his brother are crucial to the continued survival of the Digamber Kamat government which explains why the Chief Minister is not enthusiastic about investigating the credentials of the Sanatan Sanstha.”
The Self Defence manual of the Sanatan Sanstha “.[w]hich is mandatory reading for its activists, reveals the insidious nature of the communal propaganda being carried out by the ‘charitable organisation’. Surely, there can be nothing charitable about images showing young men in military uniform shooting dead a man typically dressed like a Muslim. The defence of course would be that the young men were shooting the ‘Muslim’, who is also shown armed, in self defence. The Sanatan Sanstha’s Swasaunrakshan Prashikshan contains explicit instructions on what parts of the anatomy should be targeted for causing maximum damage, shows how the trishul can be used as an offensive weapon and has entire chapter on how to use air rifles. Except that the training imparted for using air rifles can be used for handling AK-47s also. The images of the activists wielding the gun shows them wearing t-shirts identifying them as soldiers of the Sanatan Sanstha and exhorts activists to kill ‘evil’ and uphold Hindu values.”
The study also throws light on the process of indoctrination which follows a policy of targeting young minds and systematically brainwashing them. It is much on the lines of “.. …[o]ther Hindu fundamentalist organisations like the RSS, the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad,”
“The fact that the moving spirit, if not the founder of the Sansthan, Dr. Jayant Balaji Athavale, was a clinical hypnotherapist has been reflected in the methodology adopted by the Sanatan Sanstha for indoctrinating and brainwashing young minds. Young people who attended the satsangs (weekly meets of the members of the SS) of the Sanstha narrate that they are required to fill pages with the name of the Kuldevta and obtain mental peace. The satsangs were cleverly packaged to convert young open minds into fanatical defenders of the Sanatan Sanstha version of dharma. The publication of the Sanstha revealed that it is committed to militant defence of Hinduism, which it claims is under threat not only from the minorities but from members of the Hindu community themselves who are either not conscious of the threat to Hinduism or not committed enough to Hinduism to aggressively protect it from real or imaginary threats.”
As we go to the press there are reports that joint teams set up to probe blasts across the country which still remain unresolved despite the initial clamour that they were handiwork of SIMI, recently interrogated at least three people on Monday (Hindustan Times, 20 th Oct 2009) allegedly linked to Hindu right wing groups, in connection with the Samjhauta Express blasts. (Fwb 18, 2007). “Police sources said officers were trying to figure out whether Ramji Kalsangra ( main accused in the Sept 2008 Malegaon blast, who is still absconding) and Sunil Joshi, an RSS functionary who was shot dead in the neighbouring town of Dewas on December 23 2007, were also behind the Samjhauta Express blast.”
It may also be recalled that ATS chief Hemant Karkare was also looking into the links of the main accused in the Malegaon Bomb blast case Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit with the perpetrators of the Gadkari Rangayatan and Panvel blasts before he was killed in the melee that followed the terrorist attack in Bombay.
There is no doubt that if he would have remained alive he would have moved ahead to unearth the hidden links between the different Hindutva groups who were engaged in terrorism.
It was not for nothing that Sangh Parivar, Shiv Sena and other fanatic Hindutva organisations continued to vilify him, continued to paint the accused in the Malegaon blast case as victims and tried every means to stymie investigations.
One just wishes that the investigations in the Goa blast do not follow a similar path and do not face a fate similar to many other mysterious blasts which made lot of noise at the time of occurence but were quickly buried in the selective amnesia of the people and the government.
This story first appeared on countercurrents.org