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Did Goa Government ‘Partially Finance’SS Terrorists?

November 13, 2009

Sanatan Sanstha’s link to Margao blast conspiracy just got thicker with all five accused arrested in the case having allegiance to the Hindu right wing organisation operating from Goa police said.

The latest arrest of 20-year old Dhananjay Ashtekar, an engineering student from Khed in Ratnagiri is also associated with Sanatan Sanstha’s activities. Ashtekar was arrested on Wednesday evening by state police’s Special Investigation Team, which is mandated to probe the blast. “He is related to Sanstha and has made it clear during his interrogation,” Superintendent of Police and spokesperson for Goa police department Atmaram Deshpande told PTI on Thursday.

Ashtekar was studying in an engineering college at Ichalkaranji, a town in  western Maharashtra. Deshpande said that the youth was being interrogated over blast case and only when there was sufficient material on record to prove his involvement, he was placed under arrest. Ashtekar is the fifth Sanatan Sanstha activist found to be linked with the blast conspiracy which went awry on the eve of Diwali.

Earlier two accused, Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, who died in the Margao blast and two arrested persons, Vinayak Patil and Vinay Talekar, have confessed their links to Sanstha, which operates through its Ashram at Ramnathi. Deshpande had earlier said that the Sanstha is under scanner as its activists are part of the blast conspiracy. The police have, however, refused to move for a ban against Sanstha as there are no enough evidence to rope in it for the conspiracy. The Margao blast took place on October 16 killing two persons.
© Copy 2009 PTI. http://www.rediff.com, November 12, 2009 15:49 IST)

I.

How to keep Procrastinating When It Comes To Hindutva Terror ?
With every passing day it is becoming apparent that Indian state has different yardsticks to treat terrorism of the  Hindutva kind and that of the ‘Jihadi’ kind. It is not for nothing that more than four weeks after the bomb blasts in Goa – which saw deaths of two activists of Sanatan Sanstha, a emergent fanatic group cloaked in spiritual clothing – there has not been any significant move on part of the Goan government.
Apart from arrests of three people – Vinay Talekar, 30, and Vinayak Patil, 27, originally from Karnataka and Dhananjay Ashtekar, a student of engineering from Ratnagiri- we have seen merely empty statements emanating from the powers that be, which at times were even found to be contradictory to each other. And all those claims by the home minister Mr Ravi Naik that the government is contemplating ban on the organisation have similarly proved empty promises merely made for public consumption.
In fact a leading police officer from Goa Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande- who is incharge of the investigations into the Goa bomb blasts – had made the intentions clear while talking to the media about the “..difference between jihadi terrorism and right wing Hindu terrorism” ( 2 nd Nov 2009).
Despite the danger the conspiracy posed to the atmosphere of fragile peace in Margao – which happens to be a communally sensitive city – the Superintendent of Police had no qualms in sharing his weird understanding vis-a-vis terrorim.
“The aims and goals of both groups differ. Jihadi elements have threatened Goa’s coastline in the past. We have also received threats of places frequented by tourists being targeted in the past. But this is different,”
“The recent attack shows that the target was a public function frequented by many people. Chaos was perhaps their intended objective,” he added.
Perhaps the police officer did not want to look at the revealations that the dead activists and the accused were hoping to fan communal tensions by misleading the police through items they wanted to leave behind at the site: a shopping bag from a shop at “Khan Market” Delhi, a bottle of traditional perfume popular among Muslims and an empty bag of basmati rice on which all the words were in Urdu.
As a recap of the whole incident it may be told that how two people, both members of the Sanatan Sanstha, died in the Diwali eve blast when detonator-rigged gelatine sticks they were ferrying on a scooter exploded. Malgonda Patil, a Sangli-based high ranking member of the SS died of injuries a few hours after the blast; the other scooter rider Yogesh Naik succumbed to his injuries a few days later. It is learnt both Patil and Naik, who have been accused in the blast case, were parking their scooter near a festive gathering 100 metres from the district administration headquarters building when the gelatine sticks exploded.Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat was in close proximity when the incident occurred.
They were also involved in planting another bomb at Sancaole town 20 km away , near the port town of Vasco, which could not explode because of the alertness shown by the people around.in The alert occupants of a truck flung a bag into a nearby field when they heard a clock ticking inside.The zipped bag contained a timer device and a few sticks of gelatine, which was diffused by the police bomb disposal squad late in the night.
The truck was carrying nearly 40 people and was headed for a narakasura competition, where thousands of people were gathered to see several giant effigies being judged for prizes and then set on fire, as part of a popular Diwali tradition in Goa.
In a writeup in Indian Express ( 8 th Nov 2009) ‘ Goa Bombers Tried To Leave Muslim Imprint’ the reporter even quotes another police officer on the condition of anonymity ” The material was enough to spark communal trouble in Margao and extremist elements from outside would have found it easy to aggravate it.” A close look at the plan to ‘leave Muslim imprint’ had echoes of earlier attempts by Hindutva terrorists of different hues to spark communal tension.  The Malegaon bomb blast in 2008 which saw the exposure of the wide Hindutva terrorist network – thanks to the efforts of a committed officer like Hemant Karkare – had also seen similar actions by the fanatics. In fact the members of Abhinav Bharat had parked their explosive laden motorcycle below the defunct office of the SIMI in Bhikhu Chowk, Malegaon. The Nanded bomb blast in 2006 had also seen fake beards and dresses normally worn by Muslims at the house of the terrorists who had died in the bomb blasts.

II.

Did the Goan government partially foot the bill for the blasts ?
Investigation into the Goa bomb blasts has exposed a another dangerous dimension of the sprawling network of Sanatan Sanstha within the administration. Whether it has to do with the presence of Sudhin Dhavalikar, a minister in the Digambar Kamat government whose wife Jyoti happens to be part of the leading team of Sanatan Sanstha needs to be further probed ?
And thus despite the fact that Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad had forwarded a proposal to the Maharashtra government to ban the organisation after the infamous blast at Gadkari Rangayatan (theatre) in Thane in June 2008, and Panvel and when investigations had pointed fingers at the Sanatan Sanstha, the Goan government continued with its policy of advertising in the newspaper brought out by the Sanstha.
…Menino Peres, director of the department of information and publicity (DIP) that controls state government advertising, said several advertisements had been released to the propaganda arm of the SS, a multilingual broadsheet named Sanatan Prabhat, over the years.
“We released advertisements to them like we issue ads to other papers too. We are not going out of our way doing it,” Peres told IANS.
Peres was unable to immediately mention the amount of money that was spent by the DIP on advertisements released to the SS annually.
When asked if the state government would stop releasing advertisements to the newspaper in view of the new found infamy gained by the SS, Peres said such a decision would have to be taken by the state government.
…Vishnu Wagh, advisor to the DIP, told reporters Thursday that the daily Sanatan Prabhat had the potential to “breed terrorists”.
Wagh also said that the newspaper had been abusing the liberties granted under the freedom of media for a long time now. “Dainik Sanatan Prabhat has abused freedom of press for long now. They have consistently derided the system of democracy in the country. Their literature can easily breed terrorists,” Wagh said. “The literature published in the newspaper is socially divisive and acts like poison in society,” he added. (Oct 30, 2009, IANS)
Interestingly much on the lines of involvement of Lt Col Purohit, who was one of the mastermind of the Malegaon bomb blasts, one also finds that the Sanatan Sanstha could have also established links within some sections of the military to further its divisive agenda. A report carried by ‘Deccan Herald'(31.10.2009) makes a disturbing revelations about an ex-Navy officer’s Sanatan links going unprobed. (Devika Sequeira, Panaji, Oct 30, DHNS)
Former Indian Navy officer Sean Michael Clarke, the son of retired Commodore Richard Clarke, has been an active member of the Sanatan Sanstha in Goa for over three years. Internal police documents in the possession of this newspaper show that Sean Clarke, lived in the Sanatan Ramnathi ashram in Ponda from December 2006, the very year he acquired Australian nationality.
On May 5, 2009, Sean Clarke, 39, made a formal application to the CID for a year’s extension of his visa, “to render ‘seva’ (service)” to the Sanatan Ramnathi ashram as a full time voluntary worker. Though the former navy officer styles himself as a spiritual guru, claiming to run the Sanatan’s Spiritual Research Foundation website, police documents show he shared the dais publicly with militant saffron groups like the Bajran Dal, VHP and the RSS on two occasions here in Goa. The public meetings were suffused with provocative rhetoric directed at the government and the minorities. But the police cleared Sean for visa extensions several times saying there was nothing “adverse” in his record.
The Sanatan says Sean is no longer in the ashram. “He left some three or four months ago,” SS trustee Virendra Marathe told this newspaper.
His sister, the once well-known model Sharon Clarke Sequeira, 42, however, still lives in the ashram. Marathe says she has been associated with them from 1990…
He took premature retirement, his documents say, for medical reasons. His father Richard Clarke served as the CO of the navy’s Hansa base in Goa in the 90s.

III.

SANATAN in Serbia ?
As it always happens the most convenient way of shirking one’s responsibility in any particular case is blaming ‘systemic failure’. Ravi Naik, the home minister of Goa, who has recently been in news after his statements after the Goa blasts  recently admitted that the Margao blast, indicated an intelligence failure. “State intelligence agencies had no knowledge of the blast in the commercial town, which clearly indicates their failure,” Naik told a local media channel during a television show on Monday night. “Sanatan Saunstha was under the police scanner after the Thane and Panvel blasts in Maharashtra, but despite this they (intelligence agencies) had no inkling of what is being conspired by its members,” he said. (Margao blast indicates intelligence failure, admits Goa minister, November 03, 2009 13:46 IST, http://www.rediff.com)
Perhaps he should have replaced ‘intelligence failure’ with ‘absence of political will’.
It is also being discussed that the foreign links of this fanatic group are being probed to know its wide network. In fact it would be in the larger interest of humanity if Mr Ravi Naik looks into this report prepared by a group of experts about Sanatan’s operations in Serbia and the manner in which it was ultimately banned there calling it an “..[e]xceptionally harmful cult that threatens human rights, freedom of choice, freedom of opinion, of belief as well as mental and social balance, and the safety of the individual as well as that of the State. Under a humanitarian disguise, Sanatan champions terrorism” (http://griess.st1.at/gsk/fecris/ 85%20conf%20engl%20PETROVIC.htm,  for its reference go through the below links, http://www.icsahome.cominfoserv_enews/affnb_2005_01.htm and also http://www.google.com cse?cx=001799989780590661597%3A5b8gyda5z5a&ie=UTF-8&q=sanatan&sa=Search)
The report (“SANATAN”: spiritual science or a mentally and socially exceptionally dangerous cult ?) prepared in 2004 discusses how “..[t]he social situation in Serbia enabled the rise of a cult that is relatively unknown in our country, and is probably little known in other European Union countries, too.”
It talks about the “Sanatan/Eternally New” cult, which promotes itself to the outside world as: “A Society for Scientific Spirituality” and its gurus are Dr. Djajant Baladie Atavle and Dr. Kunda Djajant Atavle whose publications includes “Hypnotherapy”, “Pakistani Psychology”, “The Science of Hypnosis”, “Kschatadarma – Protection of Sadaques and the destruction of criminals”.
The said cult was listed in Serbia as a humanitarian organisation, thanks to ten people’s signature, under the usual statement of “without political, religious or lucrative aims”.
Discussing the operations of the cult it present the following facts :
“Sadaques are “truth seekers”. According to Spiritual Science, the Sadaque is willing to give up “his body, his mind, his material means and his life” to his spiritual guru, with the ultimate goal of sacrificing his life for the guru. The destruction of his enemies is the only spiritual practice of the Sadaques/truth seekers. .. Criminal are tradespeople, politicians, lawyers, doctors, the police, etc. – people who in actual fact trouble very few people. They must be destroyed while praising God and respecting “subjective emotions” and following “subtle signs”. They must be killed even through the use of weapons. This is, in fact, a very simple spiritual practice.”
After briefly describing the Santan indoctrination the report provides details of how the group is led by a female guru who started by ‘renting an apartment and then buying a large house on the edge of Belgrade, at the foot of Mount Avala’ where this guru and her followers and sympathisers live. Interestingly the manner in which great deal of noise was made by people gathering there every day at the house led compelled the local people to approach the police for an inquiry into what was happening at the yellow house.
The night following this request, an unknown person or group threw stones at this house and police and firemen quickly arrived at the scene and opened an inquest.
It was worth noting that the media, the television, the radio and even the Human Rights Committee in Helsinki immediately reacted, which defended the rights of the “Sanatan humanitarian organisation – an organisation for human spirituality”. It was claimed that this humanitarian and spiritual organisation was being harassed by a mob of xenophobes, chauvinists and criminals from “reactionary groups”.
The report prepared by a group of experts explains how their intervention ultimately forced the government to ban this ‘anti-social pseudo religious cult.” According to the report :
“At this time of unrest, we gave two interviews to the media, explaining calmly in simple terms that not only was Sanatan a pseudo-psychological spiritual cult, but that it was also engaged in highly damaging mental manipulation, presenting grave danger for people’s mental health, their dignity and their fundamental rights, exploiting people’s weaknesses and ignorance. Sanatan lies dangerously through its mask of the promise of spiritual and mental development. With its “spiritual practices”, this cult in fact prepares its victim followers for antisocial and terrorist acts. While praising the Lord, they train themselves up for assassinating “criminals” chosen through “their inner feelings and subtle signs” under the guidance of the guru. This is an exceptionally dangerous doctrine for the individuals, their lives, the human rights in general and fundamental social balance.
Our public conclusion was to officially call upon the State Prosecutor to give an indictment after a serious and thorough investigation.
Some time later, for the first time in Serbia, an obviously anti-social pseudo-psychological cult was banned. The Minister for Human and Minority Rights banned Sanatan, Spiritual Science.”(Marseilles, March 27-28 2004)

IV.

Pussyfooting in Dealing With Hindutva Extremists ?
In his recent writeup in Economic and Political Weekly, (which talks about recent arrest of Kobad Ghandy recently,) Sumanta Banerjee discusses “..[I]ndian state’s dual policy of pussyfooting in dealing with Hindu religious extremists on the one hand and trampling down on the dissenters upholding the cause of the poorer classes on the other.” (‘Two Parallel Narratives’, October 31, 2009)
Discussing the “..deliberate design in this lopsided reversal of priorities of the Indian state” it tells us that “it is surely not mere oversight that the political ideologues of the Sangh Parivar – leaders like Pramod Muthalik, Bal Thackeray, Vinay Katiyar, Praveen Togadia, who openly preach violence against relgious minorities and secular forces – are seldom touched by the police.The Indian state winks at them – since they pose a threat only to the minority community section of the population, whose interestes have already been sacrificed by the politicians at the altar of majoritarian nationalism.”
As things stand today, it is just a matter of time when the Goa blasts would be forgotten much on the lines of Nanded blasts or Kanpur blasts (August 2008) and similar other blasts involving Hindutva terrorists.Perhaps a much bigger tragedy would awaken us from our selective amnesia vis-a-vis terrorism of the Hindutva kind.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 14, 2009 11:50 AM

    Good work;
    besides, here one gets an occasion to recap the essence of a grim reminder which would suggest that silence is violence…
    What coud we do,then..?..
    One doesn’t even feel like adding more to the story; it is hoped at least the thought of spreading the word may well occur to more minds, and that will help going a long way!

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