Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha denies connection with accused in Gauri Lankesh, Dabholkar murders

National spokesperson of Sanathan Sanstha Chetan Rajhans (centre) and Sunil Ghanvat (right) of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti at a press conference in Mumbai on August 27. Pic Credit: The Wire

Extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha, at a press conference in Mumbai on Monday, denied any connection with suspects arrested in an apparent link with the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

“None of them have ever been a part of our organisation. They must have attended our meetings and must have been staunch supporters of Hindutva, but that does not mean they have been a part of Sanathan Sanstha,” said Chetan Rajhans, the national spokesperson of the organisation.

The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), which is an offshoot of SS, said that the police have not directly implicated any of its followers in any case.

“It’s a witch hunt that began soon after Panvel and Thane bomb blast incidents in 2008. But the police has not named us in a single FIR or chargesheet. There have been demands made to ban our organisation. But these demands are baseless and made with malicious intentions,” Sunil Ghanwat of the offshoot group, said.

They then repeated their demand to remove the word “secular” from the Preamble. Rajhans of HJS placed the blame on the Emergency and Indira Gandhi for the inclusion of the term which had been done in 1976. “The inclusion happened under political pressure. It is time we drop the word,” Rajhans said.

Rajhans said that the term has no clear meaning and has not even been defined in the constitution. “This ambiguity is intentionally used against Hindus,” he claimed.

Earlier, a special investigation probe started in September 2017 revealed links to the extremist Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS).

A report by Indian Express articulated that Mohan Gowda, spokesperson to the HJS placed one of the accused, Naveen Kumar, in touch with the Sanathan Sanstha at the period of planning Gauri Lankesh’s murder.

A senior investigative journalist, Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her residence in Bangalore last year. Dabolkar was an anti-superstition activist and was based in Pune. He was shot dead during his morning walk in August 2013.

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