Since the CBI arrested Sanatan Sanstha member Dr Virendra Tawade last week for his alleged involvement in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dhabolkar, the police have been keeping an eye on all ashrams and trusts in Navi Mumbai and Raigad district.
While the exact number has not been disclosed, a police source said there are more than 200 active trusts and ashrams in this part of the state. Panvel alone has four or five ashrams other than the Sanatan ashram.
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A senior police officer from the special branch of the Navi Mumbai police said, “The ashram Dr Tawade is associated with undertakes various socio-cultural activities. They organise satsangs and distribute textbooks and clothes among poor students free of cost. However, after his arrest, there is suspicion about the objectives of the group and other activities at the ashram. Therefore, we have placed it and all other ashrams and trusts under surveillance.”
He added, “Our duty is to keep an eye on their activities and gather intelligence inputs about people associated with them. We will not conduct any raids or interrogate anyone unless we get confirmed reports of nuisance elements on their premises,” he added.
The Raigad police have also alerted all police stations to keep tabs on all socio-cultural organisations, religious institutes and trusts in their jurisdictions.
An officer from the Raigad police said, “It would be a big mistake to go by what can be seen on the surface. To maintain peace and harmony in society and ensure the safety of people, we need to have a clear idea of the inner workings of such organisations.”