Free Press Journal

Hindus still a ‘soft target’ in India: Sanatan Sanstha on Raut’s arrest


Mumbai : A day after the arrest of right-wing Hindutva worker Vaibhav Raut, following a raid at his residence in Nalasopara, the controversial organisation – Sanatan Sanstha – has labelled him a “devout Hindutva worker” who has time and again acted against cow smugglers in Nalasopara and nearby districts. Though the organisation denied any ‘link’ with Raut, it maintained that he is being “falsely implicated” in the case. The Sanstha, already grappling with litigation seeking its ban, has claimed that Hindus continue to be targeted despite a “pro-Hindu” party ruling the nation. It would be pertinent to mention that the Sanstha and its members have time and again been named as accused in several bomb blast cases and murder cases, especially the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalaburgi and others. Raut was arrested on Friday by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) after the agency recovered some explosive substances from his residence in Nalasopara. He is reportedly a wanted accused in some other blast cases.

In a telephonic conversation with The Free Press Journal, Chetan Rajhans, the Sanstha’s spokesperson said, “The arrest of Raut has nothing to do with our organisation. He is not at all related to us. But I will still say he is a devout Hindutva worker and is falsely implicated in the case.”

“Raut has been active in Nalasopara and its neighbouring areas and also in Goa. He is a member of the Govansh Raksha Samiti and has successfully acted against more than 25 cow smugglers,” Rajhans said.

According to Rajhans, the ‘active’ participation of Raut in various Hindu processions and events in Nalasopara, Palghar and elsewhere has led to his arrest, at the behest of some locals.

“His (Raut’s) arrest is a result of a conspiracy hatched by members of a particular community, who are opposing his organisation’s work for the welfare of cows. The arrest has been made only to ensure that the forthcoming festivities are celebrated without any hindrance,” Rajhans claimed.

The Sanstha spokesperson further claimed Hindus continue to be the “soft target” in India. “Despite being the majority religion, Hindus are still endangered and minorities like Muslims are continuously appeased by political parties and governments. Be it Narendra Modi or Amit Shah or even Sameer Gaikwad (accused in the Dabholkar-Pansare murder cases) Hindus continue to be the target,” Rajhans said.

“There is a need to protect the Hindu majority in India along the lines of protection of Islam in Saudi and Christianity in Sweden. The religion must be protected constitutionally to avoid its exploitation at the hands of political parties,” Rajhans told FPJ.

ATS seizes cache of firearms day after arrests of 3 suspects

Mumbai: Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Saturday claimed to have recovered a cache of country-made firearms, following the arrest of three men, one of them belonging to a right-wing group, who were allegedly planning to carry out blasts at various places in the state. The ATS has also questioned at least 16 people for alleged links to Vaibhav Raut, Sharad Kalaskar and Sudhanva Gondhalekar, who were arrested on Friday, an official said. The ATS had seized a large quantity of explosive materials from Raut’s place. Further raids were conducted in Pune on Saturday based on the information provided by Gondhalekar, the ATS official said. It led to the seizure of 11 country-made pistols with magazines, an airgun, ten pistol barrels, six pistol magazines, six partially-made pistol bodies, three partially made magazines and several parts of firearms, he said. The investigators suspect that materials seized were to be used for making IED. A court in Mumbai on Friday remanded the three men in ATS custody till August 18.

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