Mumbai, Nov 8: The Sangh Parivar has decided to completely distance itself from Lt- Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit and others arrested in connection with the Malegaon bomb blast of September 29.
Sources close to the top echelons of both the RSS and the BJP said Lt-Col Purohit and his associates belonged to a "fringe group". They said such groups had always remained on the periphery of the Parivar for the past several decades, but they never enjoyed the patronage of the leadership.
The stand contrasts with the ambivalence BJP chief Rajnath Singh showed when he said that police did not have sufficient evidence against Sadhvi Pragya Singh and other Malegaon accused. Even though the party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani struck a different chord, hewing to the BJP's stand against giving any quarter to those accused of terrorism, the impression that the party was not clear on what stand to take on the alleged terrorists — motivated by the desire to avenge killings by jehadi terrorists — remained. The party spokesperson even insinuated that the Malegaon probe was a "sponsored affair".
The Sangh Parivar leadership, however, does not want to be seen as having reversed its "tough-on-terror" stand for the sake of Malegaon terrorists. In fact, many in the RSS question the decision of Lt-Col Purohit and his associates to call their organisation Abhinav Bharat, an organisation originally founded by Veer Savarkar.
Pankaj Phadnis, who is married into the Savarkar family and who is now the main trustee of the Abhinav Bharat charitable trust, said he was "deeply dismayed" to find the name Abhinav Bharat being tarnished by individuals who were in no way connected with his organisation.
Phadnis, who is a management expert working for a large industrial house in Mumbai, told TOI, "Abhinav Bharat was a revolutionary society formed sometime in 1905 by Veer Savarkar so that India attains absolute political independence. Its prominent members included Madam Cama, Sikander Hayat Khan, Acharya Kriplani, Balasaheb Kher, Harnam Singh and countless others. Inspired by Mazzini, the famed Italian revolutionary, it was a truly secular, non-sectarian body committed to Indian independence. The sacrifices made by its members are the stuff legends are made of. Once the goal of independence was attained, Veer Savarkar publicly dissolved Abhinav Bharat."
In 2001, Abhinav Bharat was registered as a charitable trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950 bearing registration number 19962. Donations to the trust are exempt under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act. Access to its web site, www.abhinavbharat.org, is open only to those who confirm that they shall work towards a peaceful, pluralistic, inclusive and just human society. Currently, it has sponsored a doctoral study in the University of Mumbai on the universalisation of primary education.
"The organisation being investigated for its alleged involvement in the Malegaon blast is an unauthorised and illegal user of the term Abhinav Bharat and therefore an impostor," said Phadnis, who is close to several top RSS and BJP leaders.