Pune/Mumbai: Congress in Maharashtra today demanded immediate ban on rightwing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, a member of which has been arrested in connection with murder of Communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare. “This organisation (Sanathan Sanstha) poses a threat and attacks freedom of thought which is a cultural tradition of Maharashtra. There is an urgent need to ban it with immediate effect”, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said in Pune.
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil also made the same demand in Kolhapur. After meeting Pansare’s wife and daughters-in-law, Vikhe-Patil said, “I demand an immediate ban on the activities of Sanatan Sanstha,” and said, “The role of Fadanvis government is suspicious in this regard as it has not taken strong action into the murder case.”
He said the Congress government never gave clean chit to Sanatan Sanstha. The state police on Wednesday arrested Samir Gaikwad, an active member of “Sanatan Sanstha” in connection with Pansare’s murder and have detained two relatives for qeustioning.
The organisation has also come under a shadow during investigation of murder of another rationalist Narendra Dabholkar of anti-superstition movement in Pune over two years ago. Asked about former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s claim that he had during his tenure as chief minister forwarded a proposal to the Centre seeking ban on the outfit and sharp reaction to it by former Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Chavan said, “You have to ask this to both of them”.
He, however, said that notwithstanding what position Shinde took at that time, it was now a “matter of urgency” to ban “Sanatan Sanstha” which is also engaged in vitiating social atmosphere with provocative writings.