The arrest of two more people on Sunday for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon bomb blast of September 29 has brought the activities of a couple of little known Hindu radical organisations into sharp focus: the Rashtriya Jagran Manch and Abhinav Bharat.
The Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) which is probing the blast, arrested Sameer Kulkarni from Bhopal and Sangram Singh from Indore, bringing the total number of arrests to seven. Both are office bearers of Abhinav Bharat.
ATS sources admitted that they had mistakenly named the ‘Hindu Jagran Manch’ as being under their scanner. They had actually meant the Rashtriya Jagran Manch.
Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, the president of the Manch, has already been held for her alleged involvement in the blast. "Brochures we have collected indicate she is its president,” said an ATS source.
The ATS also raided Pragya's rented residence in Jabalpur on Sunday, but admitted to have found nothing incriminating.
Very little is known about either of these organisations as yet. The Rashtriya Jagran Manch (RJM) is said to have been formed after the July 3 communal riots in Indore this year in which eight people were killed.
The Abhinav Bharat was floated by five disgruntled saffron workers after their expulsion from the RSS. It started functioning in Madhya Pradesh from May 2008.
The name 'Abhinav Bharat' was inspired by the Veer Savarkar run pre-Independence Abhinav Bharat Society, sources close to the organisation said. It has held a number of meetings in recent months and launched a concerted membership drive.
The group had also been named following an attack on a Christian family in Jabalpur on August 3. Pastor Sam Oomen and his family were badly beaten up by a mob allegedly led by a vice president of Abhinav Bharati.
Police were also searching for Ramchandra Kalsangra - the brother of mobile seller Shivnarayan Singh Kalsangra, who is already under arrest - but failed to find him.