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Controversy flies from Sanathan’s quiver like arrows

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RUPESH SAMANT/THE GOA SPOTLIGHT

It’s a Sanstha of suspense. And to many, of intrigue, and to the CBI and the Anti Terrorism Squads (ATS) of Maharashtra and Karnataka, of conspiracy and diabolical criminal planning. Away from rarified sanctuary of beaches, restaurants and party palces of Goa, the Ponda based ostensibly highly spiritual Sanathan Sanstha is getting too closely linked to too many assassinations of high profile thinkers and intellectuals, who have openly propagated and written against the sanstha

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The CBI in Maharashtra told a Court in Pune last weekend that Sachin Andure of Aurangabad one of the alleged sharp shooters who killed rationalist Dr Narendra Dabolkar, hatched the conspiracy with Dr Virendra Tawde, a member of the Sanathan Sanstha. The CBI has filed a chargesheet against Tawde in October 2016, identifying him as an an alleged “western commander of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), an offshoot of the right-wing group, Sanatan Sanstha as the key conspirator in the murder” . He was also arrested and released in bail on the Govind Pansare murder case

The Sanathan Sanstha website (www.sanatan.org) refers to Tawde as a “Sanathan Seeker”

 

Interestingly Sarang Akolkar was also named as a sharpshooter in this case, who according to newspaper reports quoting sources stated was a sanathan member and the CBI is on the verge of arresting his accomplice shooter Sharad Kalaskar soon. But the master mind remains Virendra Tawde

The CBI, according to reports of the Dabolkar murder investigation, his killing was actually planned in 2007 but was put on hold by the middle which carried out the pre-diwali blasts in Margao Goa in 2009. Hard disks recovered from the  Sanstha office in Panvel, near Mumbai revealed that after failing to conduct “successful” blats in Vashi Thane and Goa, the sanstha focused on specific anti-hindu activists. Each of the targets were referred to as “rakshashas’ (demons)

The Goa Spotlight looks back on the dangerous conspiracy ridden Goa headquartered Sanatan Sanstha, tucked away in the interiors of Ponda away from tourists and totally anti-thetical to the visual narrative of Goa of beaches, churches shacks and laid back cottages.

GOA (PANJIM/PONDA) : IN 2007, on the eve of Diwali that one blast changed the entire perception towards the organization that was till then perceived as centre for Hindu spirituality.

The investigations in the Margao bomb blast case were unbelievable for many and shocking for rest when the role of Ramnathi-headquartered Sanatan Sanstha surfaced. It was then that Malgonda Patil, one of the accused who died in the blast, was found to be associated with the Sanstha.

The promoters of Sanatan Sanstha had refused their role in the blast and had said that Patil had distanced themselves from the accused much before the incident happened.

Sanatan Sanstha continued to remain away from limelight till 2013 when once against it came under the radar of investigating agencies.

Importantly, as the alleged involvement of people linked to or are members of, the Sanstha, high profile murders surfaced, the trend continued for 5 years from 2013 to 2018 and counting)  right upto the murder case of firebrand journalist Gauri Lankesh, killed in Bangaluru

on September 5, 2017. The investigations had zeroed in on five accused. The investigators had said that all the five were also linked to the killing of Kalburgi.

Of these five, Amit Ramchandra Degwekar has been linked with Sanatan Sanstha and has been living at its Ashram in Ponda for nearly ten years. He was roommate of Malgonda Patil, one of the accused in Margao bomb blast, who lost his life while allegedly trying to plant a bomb.

He was the promoter of the Sanatan Prabhat newspaper, and has been touring around to promote the distribution of the newspaper. He has been associated with Sanatan Prabhat since the inception of their Goa and Sindhudurg editions.

Degwekar has also worked on projects like ‘Sanatan Panchang’ and others.

While sources claimed that the Special Investigation Team which is probing Gauri Lankesh killing was refused entry in Sanatan’s Ashram, the management claimed that not a single time SIT had contacted them.

Earlier in the past the hard-line Hindu organisation Sanatan Sanstha’s founder-chief Dr Jayant Athavale was questioned in February 2016 by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the murder of anti-superstition activist Dabholkar.

A CBI team led by Additional Superintendent of Police S R Singh questioned Dr Athavale and one of the sanstha’s directors Virendra Marathe over two days in Goa at the organisation’sPonda  headquarters.

Several Sanatan Sanstha ‘sadhaks’, including spokesman Abhay Vartak, were also questioned.

 

On August 20, 2013, Pune-based anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar was killed when he was on his morning walk.

Dr. Virendra Tawde, a fringe rightwing Hindutva activist was arrested by CBI for killing Dabholkar. The involvement of Sanatan Sanstha came when his name was  linked with Sanatan activist Sarang Akolkar, one of the prime accused in the 2009 Margaon blast case in Goa, who is presently on the run.

The year 2015 saw two killings and both were linked to Sanatan sadhaks

On 16 February 2015, at 9:25am, Govind Pansare, rationalist thinker and anti superstition activist and his wife Uma were returning from their morning walk from their society in Mumbai. Two men on a motorcycle shot five times at them at a close range outside their house. Pansare was injured in his nape and chest. His wife was injured in her head

Both were taken to the Aster Aadhar Hospital by their daughter-in-law and grandsons. Where after surgery, both of their conditions were reported to have improved but they remained critical. His wife regained consciousness the same day but he remained in a coma. He regained consciousness on 17 February.

On 20 February 2015, Pansare was airlifted to the Breach Candy Hospital after he reported a swelling in his lungs. On the same day, Pansare succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.  There was a worrying similarity between the killing of Pansare and Dabholkar.

Here again, Samir Gaikwad, a youth who was arrested for killing Pansare had links with Sanatan Sanstha.

While India was grappling with the death of Pansare, the killers struck again. This time by murdering Karnataka based writer and professor M M Kalburgi right inside his house at Dharwad.

On 30 August 2015, two men on a motorcycle came to the residence of Kalburgi in the Kalyan Nagar locality of Dharwad and knocked at his door. Kalburgi’s wife Umadevi answered the door to the two men, who posed as students of Kalburgi. She went inside to fetch coffee for them, but at 8:40 a.m. , one of the men fired two rounds at point black range, striking Kalburgi’s chest and forehead, while the other waited outside keeping the motorcycle running.

Immediately following the shooting the assassins fled the scene on the motorcycle. An ambulance was called and attempts were made to resuscitate Kalburgi. He was first taken to a private hospital and then to the District Civil Hospital of Dharwad, where the doctors declared that he had died en route

Even as the Sanstha has vehemently claimed that their members, (seekers) are innocent and there’s no evidence of any conspiracy in which they could have had a hand, the degree of probability of the absolute innocence of sanstha members is going down with each new arrest or development presented by investigating agencies.

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Leads & Specials

Everyone in the Goa BJP will go home except Rajya Sabha member Vinay Tendulkar- Parsekar

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Not a single BJP karyakarta will support Sopte in Mandrem; the BJP is losing support of the bhandaris and Marathas too, says former CM Lakshmikant Parsekar

Team Spotlight

Mandrem: In a tone tinged with emotion and hurt former Goa Chief Minister, and a senior member of the BJP’s core committee said that if the party continues in this manner, then “everyone (all MLAs) will have to go home”. He sarcastically said that the only one who will be present in a legislative space would be BJP state president Vinay Tendulkar, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha for 6 years.

Commenting on the larger issues plaguing the party, the former Chief Minister remarked that important sections of the population like the OBCs including the bhandaris and marathas are moving away from the BJP. The support base is shrinking. There is no doubt. If things go on in this manner, then everyone will go home, except Vinay Tendulkar” ( elected to the Rajya Sabha)

It is clear that it’s a no holds barred battle between a section of the veteran leadership in the BJP and party president Vinay Tendulkar. Speaking toThe Goa Spotlight,  Mr Parsekar said “Earlier Vinay used to say that he would consult ‘bhai’ before taking any decision. Now ‘bhai’ is not accessible and hence Vinay thinks he can take any decision that he wants”

Meanwhile the by-elections to the Mandrem constituency is due, after Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte resigned to join the BJP and will be the BJP candidate in Mandrem and Parsekar is clear that the local BJP unit will not be supporting him “Sopte said 80% of the BJP’s karyakartas are with him. He is lying. Zero percent are with him. There is not a single BJP worker who is with Sopte”. Elaborating further, he said that the party may have taken a decision to reduce the strength of the Congress and hence get Sopte to resign but they should have consulted local workers and leaders ( like him) before deciding to field him from Mandrem. “Sopte may have been lured to join the BJP but the party should have understood the ground reality of fielding him from Mandrem”, Parsekar quipped

Parsekar’s remarks assume political significance for three reasons a) It confirms that Sopte will not be able to hit the political ground in Mandrem, running and will face opposition not just from the Congress but the local BJP organization. b) Lakshmikant Parsekar is holding his own political cards to his chest and the possibility of him contesting as an independent after resigning from the party, with the support of local BJP workers, cannot be ruled out and c) Parsekar’s vociferous reaction may spark off a chain reaction among senior BJP leaders who will take on the Parrikar and Tendulkar led party leadership, with Francis D Souza already stating that he may be raided for speaking against the party.

Clearly in an attempt to shore up the party’s numbers in the Assembly, both Vinay Tendulkar and Parrikar,  either by design or bad politics, may have caused far reaching damage to the party, the results of which will be clear, in the next round of elections.

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‘Toilet’ is not a ‘prem katha’ in Goa

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Goa is one of India’s worst states in achieving the Open Defecation Free promise

TEAM SPOTLIGHT

GOA: As the deadline of December 19, 2018 is fast approaching, Goa has to achieve a milestone to rank on the national chart of being free from Open Defecation (ODF). The coastal State, having the lowest population of only 15 lakhs, tops the embarrassing chart of having the lowest ODF coverage in India. With total coverage of only 5.87 percent, the State is the only one in the country where the success rate is less than 10 percent.

 

What is humiliating is that States like Bihar, Odisha and Tripura are above Goa, where not a single village has been declared as total verified ODF. After being on top of the national chart on various fronts like tourism, Smart City Mission, literacy, etc, the State is far from achieving   ODF.

As per 2011 census, the State has nearly 20 percent households without toilet facility. There are also many community toilet facilities that are lacking in the State, which is known as international tourism destination on world map.

As a rough estimate, the government is of the view that it requires at least 65,000 bio-digester toilets, for which Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) has already invited tender.

Kind of toilets to be provided

The toilets, costing Rs 40,000-Rs 45,000 per set, are fitted with bio-digester. Bio-digester toilet technology, perfected by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), is an eco-friendly and maintenance-free system to manage human waste, which is being put to use under the Swachh Bharat Mission movement.

Scheme drafted by State Government 

Department of Urban Development has drafted a scheme for supply and installation of Bio-Digester Toilet in the State.  “If Goa is to achieve the goal of ODF by the year 2018, then it is essential that the construction of toilets is taken up on a mission mode by providing necessary financial assistance to the poor who are without an Individual Household Latrine (IHHL),” Secretary Urban Development R Menaka said.

Under the scheme, any household not having an individual sanitary toilet will be eligible on submission of documents like Aadhar card and an undertaking that he or she will pay the beneficiary share for the supply and installation of the Bio-Digester toilet in his household.

“No occupant of the household shall resort to open defecation and shall use toilet only for the purpose it is designed for.  The occupant will have to pay the entire cost of supply and installation of Bio-digester toilet to government in case of the toilet being not utilized or any occupants of the household resorting to open defecation,” Menaka said.

Urban development has made it mandatory for Certificate from Municipal Council/ /Corporation/Panchayat stating that the household does not have individual household latrine.

The department of urban development and panchayat will finalize the list of eligible applicants under the scheme and communicate the same to the Implementing Agency- GWMC.

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Parrikar returns home, on a stretcher & in an ambulance

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  1. Parrikar travelled in an ambulance to his home at Dona Paula.
  2. GMC has set up medical facility at his personal residence
  3. Party men and coalition partners were clueless over  his early arrival.

Team Spotlight

GOA: The usual bonhomie that surrounds arrival of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar when arrives back in the State was missing on Sunday, when the BJP leader was moved from AIIMS to Goa on a stretcher and travelled through ambulances.

Parrikar was flown to Goa in a special flight on Sunday afternoon. Two Ambulances equipped with the doctors was part of his carcade that went to receive him at INS Hansa base. The former union defence minister travelled on a stretcher to his home.

India’s news agency Press Trust of India in its report from New Delhi had said that Parrikar’s health had deteriorated at AIIMS last night after which he was shifted to Intensive Care Unit.

He was discharged from the hospital and then flown to Goa.

State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said that Goa Medical College and Hospital has set up facility at Parrikar’s residence at Dona Paula, where his medical needs would be looked after.

The arrival of Parrikar was sudden and unexpected. Rane was seen supervising the arrangements by calling special meeting of the GMC officials last night.

 

But what is shocking for his party members and coalition partners is unexpected arrival from AIIMS where he had met BJP Core Committee and coalition partners on Friday.

“Parrikar has been always commanding, whatever he decides for himself, he has been deciding. He never listens to his family or his close ones,” BJP Legislator and State Power Minister Cabral told reporters at the airport where he had come to receive Parrikar.

Unlike last two times when he had arrived from the USA wherein he had walked out of the Airport, this time, the ambulance was taken near the special flight to pick him up.

“We hope that he recovers fast and miracle happens. I think it must be his personal decision that he wants to come back to Goa. When I met him last time, he spoke well. It must be his decision to come to Goa,” Cabral said.

 Union AYUSH minister Shripad Naik who had met Parrikar along with Cabral at AIIMS on Friday said that he could not believe the news reports that Parrikar was coming back.

“I had met him day before yesterday. I got the news that he is coming back but I can’t believe that he is returning. His health is improving and he was expected stay at AIIMS for few more days,” Naik said talking to reporters in Panaji on Sunday morning at the sidelines of a function.

“It is okay if he takes treatment in Goa but he needs to take rest,” Naik said.

State Civil Supplies Minister and Independent MLA Govind Gawade said that Parrikar should have stayed back at AIIMS for some time and fully recovered before coming back to Goa.

“But we welcome him back. Goa was missing its leader,” he said.

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