Funds were raised with "instant" contributions at a citizens rally called in Pune by a host of pro-Hindutva organisations including Abhinav Bharat, in support of the accused in the Malegaon blasts case.
Taking strong exception to the expression 'Hindu terrorism' being used in regard to the suspects booked by Anti-Terrorism Squad ( ATS)-- Sadhvi Pragya Singh , Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Dayanand Pandey -- the Abhinav Bharat president Himani Savarkar told the gathering last night that the money collected would be used for the legal battle to defend and free the accused.
Savarkar, who also heads the Hindu Mahasabha, shared the platform with leaders of Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) at the meeting held at Shivaji Mandir in the heart of the city which is emerging as an alleged springboard of pro-Hindutva activism.
The leaders who spoke on the occasion accused the ATS of framing Lt Col Purohit, being prosecuted by Maharashtra ATS for alleged links with the September Malegaon blast, and hailed him as "Mangal Pandey", a revolutionary soldier of the 1857 upsurge during the British rule.
The city unit chief of Shiv Sena Nana Wadekar said, "We do not know whether the accused really planted bombs as alleged. But if they had done so, we are proud of them as it should be seen as an act in defence of Hindus."
He went on to recall the Sena supreme Bal Thackeray's statement in the wake of demolition of the Babri mosque at Ayodhya that "if my Sainiks have brought down the Masjid, I am proud of them."