Goa Congress demands ban on Sanatan Sanstha

Panaji, Sep 23 (IANS) The Goa unit of the Congress on Wednesday demanded a ban on state-based Sanatan Sanstha, whose members are accused of killing Leftist leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in Maharashtra in February.

The right-wing Hindu organisation was allegedly involved in spreading hatred and dividing the country on religious lines and should be banned, Goa Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said on Wednesday.

“Institutions like Sanatan Sanstha, spreading hatred and dividing the country on religious lines, should be banned not only in Goa, but also in the country. It is a testing time for the BJP that talks of secularism only during elections,” Kamat said.

Kamat’s statement comes in the wake of a similar demand by a BJP legislator considered close to the Goa chief minister. On Tuesday, Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from St. Andre constituency, Vishnu Wagh, demanded a ban on the Sanstha, headquartered in Ramnathi village, 35 km from Panaji.

“In a democracy, there is no scope for violence. All those who try to use bullets to threaten the voice of opposition are terrorists, because they try to frighten the opposition. It is evident from the killing of Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi. The Sanatan Sanstha’s hand is evident in these cases,” alleged Wagh.

Wagh said if the Goa government could ban Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik from entering the state, a ban on Sanatan Sanstha was also warranted.

Many top politicians, including some cabinet ministers in the BJP-led coalition in Goa, have backed the organisation in public fora.

The Sanstha, through statements issued in Panaji, has repeatedly rejected the charges that its members were involved in the attack on Pansare, even as a Special Investigation Team probing the murder arrested Sanstha member Sameer Gaikwad and is on the lookout for another member Rudra Patil, absconding since a 2009 blast in Goa’s Margao town.

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