Mumbai: Recovery of arms and explosives from Sanatan Sanstha member Vaibhav Raut on August 9 and arrests of two other people Sachin Andure from Pune and Sharad Kalaskar from Nalasopara in connection with the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, has brought the controversial Hindu right-wing group under scrutiny.
The organisation maintains its mystery of functioning, rules and membership, keeping its sadhaks away from appearing in public and only responding to queries through the group’s official spokesperson have all raised questions upon its functioning which has now built a stronghold in Maharashtra region especially in the cities of Sangli, Miraj and Kolhapur, HT reported.
Some of the organisation’s followers or sadhaks have also publicly declared their allegiance to the organisation.
According to one of the follower’s : “A new sadhak is allowed to pray in the ashram. He is appointed a task. He works in the group in charge of carrying out the task, and does not interact with members of other task groups as such.”
These sadhaks, he said, on the condition of anonymity, are given only limited required information. The members are also taught what to wear like simple clothes for both men and women that are not at all vibrant in colours. They are also taught how to walk, how to pray, how to celebrate the festivals.
The organisation includes the some of the above-mentioned teachings on its website apart from the books of the Sanstha distributed in different cities, outside temples and even door0to-door subscription.
The organisation’s national spokesperson Chetan Rajhans said: “Since there is no procedure to register the names of seekers, it is very difficult to give their number. There are lakhs of seekers who perform spiritual practice by having faith in Sanatan Sanstha,” when asked about its membership.
One of the followers of the organisation, Kiran Pol, a resident of Tasgaon, says Sanstha has taught him how to lead a “happy Hindu life”.
Pol also seems to have gained some insight in law after appearing under Lawyer Sameer Patwardhan.
“I am not studying law as a degree. I sit with Sameer Patwardhan sometimes, to learn about law. In such times when people are attacking the Sanstha with foul accusations, I am doing my duty. There are some students with me sometimes,” Pol said.
“Sadhaks are spiritual seekers, and did not understand when their human rights were being violated. These are means to defend yourself, so it is time to learn about them,” he added.