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Hardline Hindu arrested in connection with Indian secularist’s murder

Posted in S. Asia

Published on September 18, 2015 with No Comments

Police hasarrested a member of a right-wing Hindu group for his alleged role in the murder of a social activist who had criticised organisations associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist party. Sameer Gaikwad and his group are not affiliated with the ruling party BJP but his arrest comes at a time when hardline Hindu activists attached to Modi’s party have openly declared India to be a nation of Hindus. The suspect is a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, a small group that promotes Hindu philosophy in western India. Police said Gaikwad played a crucial role in plotting the murder of 81-year-old Govind Pansare, a local leader of the Communist Party. Pansare was gunned down near his home in February this year in Kolhapur in Maharashtra.

“Our leads suggested that this person has information on this incident. We took him into arrest to verify whether he may be involved in this directly or indirectly,” said Sanjay Kumar, a senior police officer. Pansare was known for attacking discrimination, superstition, caste politics and religious fundamentalism. He had received death threats after saying in a speech that attempts were being made to glorify Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, since Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led government took power. Police said they suspected that members of Sanatan Sanstha could also be involved in the assassinations of two other secularists who were vociferous critics of right-wing Hindu organisations.


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