The irony couldn’t have been starker. The Sanatan Sanstha whose role is under intelligence scanner following death of its alleged members in Goa during a blast last week, claims inspiration from an Indore-based Saint of the tolerant Bhakti tradition. The Sannstha, is facing prospects of ban in Goa and Maharashtra.
Incidentally, Indore is linked to the Malegaon blasts too. Two of the co-accused of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur hailed from this city in Western Madhya Pradesh. Rajasthan ATS and CBI last interrogated four persons in Indore and neighouring Shajapur district in connection with investigations of the Samjhauta Express and Ajmer bomb blasts.
The Sanathan Sanstha in its website says it aims at spreading spirituality and was founded with the blessings of an Indore-based seer late Saint Bhaktaraj.
The founder of the Sanstha, Dr Jayant Balaji Athavale, established the organisation in 1990 with the blessings of his Sadguru (Saint Bhaktaraj).
The Sanstha's publication Sanatan Prabhat in its current issue reports that “fed up of Muslim insolence, Hindus are giving a befitting reply”. It cites as an example “saffron flags were hoisted on ten mosques in Maharashtra”.
The recent blast in Goa and the revelation that Malgonda Patil, a member of the Sanstha, was involved in bomb making, has cast doubts on activities of the Sanstha members.
The police also claim that the Sanstha's role in the Miraj communal riot was under investigation. Though Sanstha has denied role in the blasts, it has accepted that Patil was its member.
Earlier, the organisation's name had also come up in connection with the blast in a theatre in Panvel where the movie, Jodhaa Akbar, was being screened.
Though Sanstha doesn't have a perceptible presence in MP, it has a base in Malwa. “There are workers linked to the group in Bhopal but aren't much active. In Indore, Ujjain and other parts of Malwa, they are active”, said a top police requesting anonymity.
IG (Law and Order) AK Soni admitted Sanstha has a presence in Indore. However, he didn’t comment further on the activities of the organisation here.
Saint Bhaktaraj was born at Manasa in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh in 1920. He passed away in Indore in 1995. He spread the message of god through bhajans, in line with the bhakti tradition.