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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Hindu Rashtra Sena chief wants to ‘protect religion’

Yogesh Joshi, Hindustan Times  Pune, June 06, 2014
First Published: 13:12 IST(6/6/2014) | Last Updated: 01:35 IST(7/6/2014)

Coming from a modest family, Dhananjay Desai, head of Hindu Rashtra Sena, was just another boy until he formed the right-wing group at the age of 14 with a base in Pune.

Within a few years, Desai and his group, began launching minor protests on issues related to the so called "injustice" meted out to their religion.

The organisation first came into focus when it carried an attack on the office of a Marathi television channel in 2007 protesting their coverage of an incident involving a Hindu minor girl who had eloped with a Muslim boy.

Read: Pune techie murder: Mystery of morphed images gets murkier

Considered to be a radical group, members of Hindu Rashtra Sena have also held protests against the arrests of Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Srikant Purohit in the Malegaon blasts case.

In the past decade, 34-year-old Desai has been slapped with as many as 20 cases in various police stations in Pune.

The cases were mostly against rioting and giving inflammatory speeches in which Desai has secured bail.  
 
While Desai regularly gets notices from the police asking him to restrain from delivering inflammatory speeches, he says he always throws them into the dustbin.
 
Recently when cops sent him a notice warning him not to issue provocative statements ahead of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s birth anniversary in March, Desai posted on his Facebook profile that his house is full of similar notices and every month he sells them as scrap.

Desai, who is known as "bhai" among his friends and belongs to Mumbai, was most recently booked for making inflammatory statements during March.

Read: 25 people held in Pune techie murder case

"Our interrogation reveals members of Hindu Rashtra Sena are hardcore about their ideology,” said joint commissioner of police Sanjay Kumar.
 
Soon after killing IT graduate Mohsin Shaikh, a 28-year-old IT graduate, members of the right wing group exchanged an ominous message on their mobiles.

Hindu Rashtra Sena chief Dhananjay Desai (in pic) has been arrested for the protests that erupted in Pune after doctored images of Bal Thackeray and Chhatrapati Shivaji went viral on social network sites. (Photo courtesy: Facebook)

The message said "pahili wicket padli" or the first wicket has fallen.
 
The killing came as a fallout of violent protests after morphed images of Maratha warrior king Shivaji and late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray were uploaded on Facebook by unidentified persons.

The police have taken off those images and a complaint has been registered.

Police cracked down against the organisation and arrested 25 members of whom 17 have been charged with murdering Shaikh.

The police also arrested Desai though in connection with an old case.

While speaking to the media on Thursday, Pune police commissioner Satish Mathur said a report will be sent to the government on the protests that led to Shaikh’s killing.
 
According to Mathur, the police are in the process of compiling details about the HRS in order to send proposal to the state and central home department to ban the organisation.
 
"You have to compile enough documents backed by enough evidence before the proposal is sent (to ban any group). It is in process," said Mathur.


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