Majeed Memon, an eminent lawyer and member of parliament from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said on Friday that Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing Hindu organisation, should be banned over allegations of terrorism and assassination against some of its members.
Sanatan Santha became well-known when its name cropped up in connection with the 2009 Madgaon blast case and the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabhoklar and Govind Pansare in 2013 and 2015, respectively. On June 20, the CBI arrested Dr Virendra Tawade, a longtime member, for the murder of Dabholkar.
Memon said, “If any organisation is found to be indulging in acts of terror or conspiring to commit serious crime, the authorities should minutely examine its activities, aims, objectives and history to assess whether it can continue to exist.” The NCP is considering approaching the state government to seek a ban on the organisation on the lines of the one imposed on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Memon added that if an organisation is found to be hazardous to the interests of society or if it tends to create fear or hatred among people, it needs to be banned, following an assessment, without prejudice or political influence.
“If SIMI can be banned, why can’t Sanatan Sanstha? We, as a party, are considering approaching the state government to ask for a ban soon,” added Memon.
However, experts said banning any organisation is difficult. PS Pasricha, former director general of police, Maharashtra, said that compiling all the information about a particular organisation and submitting it in court to seek a ban is a difficult and tedious task.
He said, “According to my knowledge, the said organisation (Sanatan Sanstha) has several addresses, names, bank accounts and command centres. Taking a call on whether to ban it or not is the state’s prerogative. However, all this information will first have to be compiled for the court to rule in the state’s favour.”
The previous Congress-led government in Maharashtra had proposed a ban on Sanatan Sanstha and its sister organisations in 2011 for their alleged involvement in terrorism. The proposal, sent to the ministry of home affairs, called for Sanatan Sanstha be declared unlawful and banned. It also asked that it be listed as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. The central government, however, rejected the proposal, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove the organisation’s involvement in terrorist activities.