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’.
But any impartial observer of the activities of ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ and ‘Hindu Janjagruti Samiti’ would concur with the view that these organisations need not be allowed to spread their venomous agenda among innocent people any further. The recent bomb blasts in Maharashtra where members of these organisations have been found to be involved is another reminder about the danger which these organisations present before the communal harmony situation in our country.
It is definitely no Kafkasquean scenario where one fine morning someone experiences metamorphosis of a different kind.
It is a real world, world which talks of ‘spiritual salvation’ and ‘awareness of righteousness’, a world which supposedly ‘aims to present religious mysticism in a scientific language for the curious and to guide seekers’, which ‘conducts weekly spiritual meetings, discourses, child guidance classes, workshops on spirituality etc.’ but this is just one part of the whole story.
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.
Enter the world of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, which recently reached national headlines for completely non-spiritual reasons, when its activists/members were arrested by Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra state for recent bomb blasts in Maharashtra. It was sheer coincidence that these terrorists belonging to these organisations could be nabbed and for the first time a possibility emerged about tracing the real culprits behind many unexplained bomb blasts in this part of Western India.
In fact the bomb blasts at theatres in Vashi ( Visnudas Bhave Auditorium, 31 st May) and Thane ( Gadkari Rangayatan Auditorium, 4 th June) which fortunately did not kill anyone, would have similarly joined many such blasts where real culprits could never be identified, if the ATS had followed the oftbeaten track of stigmatising particular community and thus restricting the scope of investigation. One crucial link which the police already had was that the play which was to be staged in these two auditoriums named “Amhi Pachpute” had evoked a strong reaction from the members of the Hindu Jangagruti Samiti (HJS) and Sanatan Sanstha (SS) earlier. The HJS and SS members had even held joint protest to register their protest about the manner in which ‘hindu mythological figures had been shown in poor light’ in the drama. Interestingly HJS members had similarly held violent protests earlier when another play by the same author ‘Yada Kadachit’ was staged.
The arrested terrorists namely Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari ( 50), Mangesh Dinkar Nikam ( 34), Vikram Bhave (26), Santosh Sitaram Angre (26)and Dr Hemant Chalke provided many crucial details to the ATS team. It was the same group which was involved in bomb explosion at Panvel Cinema Hall in February when Jodhaa Akbar was screened. They had also planted a bomb outside a mosque/dargah on the Pen Highway last Diwali. It was worth noting that these terrorists who owed their allegiance with HJS and Sanatan Sanstha did not regret their act. They reportedly told the investigators that ” We are proud of what we did to deter those who were trying to show our gods and goddesses in poor light.”
The aggressive statements by the culprits emphasised the arrival of Hindutva terrorism in India – a charge which was already in air but never conceded by anyone. Not to be left behind, Bal Thackeray, the Supremo of Shiv Sena praised these ‘brave Hindus’ but chided them for using improvised techniques and exhorted Hindus to form ‘suicide squads’ to tackle the ‘menace of Islamic terrorism’.
( Mumbai, June 20 Detonators, gelatin sticks, circuits, remote controls recovered from 3 locations; one detained, says ATS
The state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Friday recovered a sizeable cache of gelatin sticks, detonators, circuits, remote controls and batteries from three locations — two in Pen and another in Satara. The recoveries were made on information provide by the two people arrested earlier this week in connection with the recent blasts and planting of explosives in auditoriums in Thane, Vashi and Panvel.
Blast accused guide police to hidden explosives, Express News Service, Posted online: Saturday , June 21, 2008 at 01:05:56, Updated: Saturday , June 21, 2008 at 01:05:56)
The arrest of these five Hindu terrorists belonging to Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha and the blowing of lid over the operations of these organisations was followed by demand from different quarters of society to ban these fanatic hindu organisations.Apart from Nationalist Congress Party, (NCP), Samajwadi Party (SP) or Jamiat Ulema e Hindi many other organisations/individuals raised their voice in unison.
Recently a Dharana was held at Azad Maidan, Bombay on 20 th June under the aegis of Maharashtra unit of Movement for Peace and Justice (MPJ) to condemn the involvement of activists of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Jan Jagruti Samiti in recent bombings in Thane and Vashi. Organisations .like Mumbai Catholic sabha, India Center, Maharashtra manav Adhikar Sanrakshak Samiti, Yuva Sarkar, Indian Republic Party, Bahujan Mahasangh, Muslim Front, catholic Secular Front, Senior Citizen of Royal College, Awami Bharat, Vidyarthi Bharati, Hindu Vikasini etc.have supported MPJO.A massive dharana of various social-cultural and political organisations held under the aegis of Maharashtra unit of Movement for Peace and Justice (MPJ) on Azad Maidan (20 th June).
Looking at the fact that it is for the first time that organised involvement of Hindutva terrorist groups in bomb blasts in India is being clearly seen, secular organisations have underlined the need to have a fresh look at terror attacks in India and toning up central and state agencies to look for real culprits. It is also being pointed out that barring the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts which have been investigated, investigations in most of the other bomb blasts in the country have reached dead end. Security agencies following a preconceived path and focussing on one possibility has led to a situation whose end product has been demonization of Muslim community and the rise of Islamophobia in India.In fact it has become a usual pattern which has been well imbibed by the police and security agencies, where blast anywhere in the country would be claimed as the handiwork of ‘Islamic terrorist organisations’ , sketches would be prepared and innocent people would be arrested without any proper proof and would be put to endless torture. The recent Jaipur bomb blasts saw police releasing skethches of suspects at least twice without any valid explanation about the withdrawal of the earlier sketches of drawings. If there is intervention at the level of human rights activists or at any other higher level all such ‘culprits’ would be released with a warning that they do not disclose anything to anyone. And if the near and dear ones of the innocent people are not able to gather enough support from any quarter, they would be booked under various trumped up charges and sent to jail.(Politicization of terror, Tarique Anwar on 19 June 2008 – 8:06pm. http://www.twocircles.net)
Although the chief minister of Maharashtra has pointed out that these investigations have exposed the myth that only particular community is involved in terror attacks, and has advised to maintain balance in investigations, activists have pointed out the double standard adopted by the same police in arresting the culprits. It is being said that police has said that these accused can’t be arrested under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) because these acts of terror were not done by “an organised terrorist group.” It is true that any democracy loving person would never support such a law which itself is a grave attack on human rights, but the moot question arises is that how can police adopt ‘double standard” that the secular organisations are completely against. They have rightly raised the question, if the arrested terrorists would have been Muslim, whether police would have given similar explanation.“How can one differentiate between the Hindutva terrorism and the so called Islamic terrorism? And more importantly, does terrorism has any religion?”
A writeup in Indian Express (June 23, 2008) titled ‘Quietly, hardline Hindu Outfits build a network across Maharashtra, Goa’ explains the working of these organisations which ‘work like wheels within wheels’ and mobilise Hindus on ‘a cocktail of Ramrajya, Hindu Dharma, and “dharamkranti ‘ religious revolution”. A notable feature of HJS and SS is while there is no formal membership and funding is through donations, satsangs/religious gatherings are an important feature of mobilisation of people. Apart from many centres in different parts of India, they have centres in New Jersey, Brisbane, Melbourne, Dubai and many other places. It also provides details of the newly launched outfit “Dharamshakti Sena” pictures of whose inaugural rally show young men dressed in military fatigues. The “Sena” was established in 16 districts of Maharashtra towns and cities on Gudi :Padwa day this April.
Dharamshakti Sena chief Vinay Panvalkar has travelled extensively across Maharashtra after establishment of the outfit and is reported to have delivered inflammatory speeches. In a meeting held in Pune he is quoted as saying “Hindus are cornered from all sides, but there is no retaliation from them.” In another meeting in Thane he says “The war in future will be a Dharamyudh and Dharamshakti Sena will be the guiding force”.
As has been already reported the arrested Hindu terrorists have claimed that they were working on their own initiative, and the leadership of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti has also categorically denied any role in there acts. Interestingly, in one of their own publications they have also condemned the act albeit sympathised with their grievances.But any close watcher of the whole situation knows that it would not be possible for the leadership of Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti to hide behind formal explanations for long.
Apart from the trysts of the terrorists with bombs and violence police is rather baffled with the recovery of explosives from different parts of Maharashtra at the behest of the arrested activists :
“According to ATS officials, while 19 gelatin sticks, two circuits with remote controls, a circuit without a remote and 20 detonators were found buried in the ground at a spot in Varsai village near Pen, three circuits with remote controls, a circuit without a remote, 12 batteries, a timer and a voltmeter were recovered from the bed of a stream in Pen. Another recovery of similar objects was made from a location in Satara.
“The recoveries in Pen were made on details obtained during the interrogation of Vikram Bhave (26), while that in Satara was based on information provided by Mangesh Nikam (34),” said Additional Commissioner of Police, ATS, Parambeer Singh.
– Express News Service, Posted online: Saturday , June 21, 2008
A senior officer of the Anti Terrorism Squad has told the media that the meticulous planning which has gone into organising the bomb blasts shows that it cannot be initiative of few persons only and they have all the options yet open before them. According to him various members of these organisations are being questioned. If there role is found in the planning or the execution of these incidents, ATS would write to the central government and seek that they be banned.
Apart from interrogation of different associates of these Hindu terrorists the ATS also needs to take a close look at the plethora of literature published by Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and different issues of their regular newspaper and magazines and other material. A close look at the functioning of the organisations and the methods of their indoctrination which place the “Guru” (teacher) at a supreme level, makes it clear that it would not be difficult for the ATS to nab the people who ‘remote control’ the activities of their gullible followers.
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.
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’. It is part of its usual practice to show a Pastor with horns whose sole agenda is proselytisation. Its humiliation of Islam and Prophet Muhammad nearly created a riot like situationi in Miraj ( First week of November 2005)
It is for everyone to see that organisations like Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Sanatan Sanstha and Dharamshakti Sena and their open espousal of violence against ‘evildoers’ under the garb of ‘spiritual practice’ cannot be allowed to continue any further.
Whatever might be the claims of the likes of Gadkari, Nikam, Angre and others – the accused in the bomb blasts – that the whole operation was their own initiative, it is clear to any layperson that their organisations can never escape the blame for preparing the conditions so that ‘seekers’ unleash violence against religious minorities for the espousal of spirituality. A cursory glance at the writings and speeches of the leaders of SS, HJS makes it clear that in a democratic setup they need to pay for their hatefilled speeches and for promoting division of society on communal lines. For all its talk of spirituality it is becoming extremely clear that the likes of Jayant Athavale are essentially zealots for the formation of Hindu Rashtra in secular India. In one of his exhortations (Sanatan Prabhat, 16 th August 2005) talks of ‘ Inevitability of the building of Hindu Rashtra to avoid braking of India at the hands of the irreligious’. It was only last year that HJS had organised a photo exhibition in different parts of Goa and Maharashtra to present their version of the ‘attaks on Hindus in Kashmir and Bangladesh’ This particular exhibition evoked a strong reaction from wide cross-section of people with its one-sided pictorisation of events. The said exhibition had been prepared by Frank Gautier, a saffron sympathiser from Europe
It is high tmie that measures are taken at the polity level so that the likes of Jayant Athavaale and Vinay Panwalkar and all their comrades are restrained from taking up any cause which could ‘provide fresh impetus to forces of exclusion and hope.’
It is possible that the government dithers over taking up any action against leaders of HJS , SS or for that matter Dharamshakti Sena then one will have to get ready for a protracted struggle against these forces. People conversant with law or its different statues can tell you what sort of clauses from Indian Penal Code would apply in case of the hatefilled propaganda by them. If convicted they will have to spend at least three years in any Indian jail.
Question remains who will gather enough courage to ‘bell the cat’?