Abhinav Bharat was a little known organisation until two members, Sameer Kulkarni and Maj (retd) Ramesh Upadhyaya, were arrested on October 28 in connection with the Malegaon blast, but the outfit claims the legacy of none other than Veer Savarkar.
Savarkar, who coined the term “Hindutva” in 1923 and came up with the idea of Hindu nationalism, founded Abhinav Bharat in 1893, but dissolved it in 1952. It was revived in 2006 to counter “anti-Hindu activities”, said president Himani Savarkar, a niece of Nathuram Godse, the man who killed Mahatma Gandhi. She is also the daughter-in-law of Veer Savarkar’s brother.
“We don’t support terrorism. But at the same time, we want to make it clear that Hindus will not tolerate atrocities committed on them. If such anti-Hindu acts take place, a reaction is only to be expected,” the 61-year-old said.
She told HT that Abhinav Bharat, as an organization, had nothing to do with the September 29 Malegaon blast. But, she would extend legal assistance to Kulkarni and Upadhyaya. “It might be a reaction at an individual level after series of blasts in the country in which Muslim youth were involved,” she said.
Admitting both Kulkarni and Upadhyaya were Abhinav Bharat members, she said the former was incharge of Madhya Pradesh. Upadhyaya was only a member.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has linked the RSS-backed Bhonsale Military School in Nasik to the fascists. School secretary Maj Prabhakar Kulkarni is under scanner for suspected links to the blast. Writing in party’s mouthpiece People’s Democracy, Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said founder B.S. Moonje met Benito Mussolini on March 19, 1931.
Moonje wrote in his diary about “his fascination ... of the manner in which Italian fascism was training its youth militarily”, Yechury said. On his return, Moonje set up “Central Hindu Military Education Society at Nasik in 1935, the precursor to the Bhonsale school set up in 1937”.