With the Sanatan Sanstha coming under scanner following the arrest of one of its activists in Govind Pansare murder case, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said the previous Congress-led government in the state had urged the UPA government at the Centre to ban the right wing outfit in 2011, but the Home Ministry did not act upon it.
Chavan's party colleague and former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, however, said if Chavan was serious about outlawing Sanatan Sanstha he should have called him and asked him about that, instead of merely sending a report to the Centre.
Shinde, however, said he took over as Home Minister at the Centre only in 2013 but added Chavan's failure to take up the issue directly with the Centre reflected his "carlessness".
Chavan made the claim against the backdrop of the arrest of Sanatan Sanstha activist Samir Gaikwad in connection with the murder of Communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare in February this year.
Pansare, 82, and his wife, Uma were shot at by two motorcycle-borne youths on February 16, 2015, near their home in Kolhapur. Pansare died four days later at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai while his wife survived the attack suffering injuries that crippled her.
"The Maharashtra Home Ministry had, in 2011 sent a detailed report to the Central government and had requested it to ban the Sanatan Sanstha. Our request was not accepted then," Chavan told PTI.
He said that some "illegal activities" had come to the notice of the state government then, which felt that Sanatan Sanstha is not a "healthy organisation."
"Along with this particular organisation, there were some others too," Chavan said without divulging the names of those outfits.
"There is a cell in the police that monitors these undesirable organisations. When we think they are exceeding their limits, we request for a ban on such organisations. The Union government, in turn, considers an all India view and based on their parameters, they decide whether to ban or not," he said.
Chavan demanded that the present BJP-led government in Maharashtra draw up a new report on the organisation and ask the Centre to ban it.
"I once again demand a ban as the police have declared that those who have been arrested or detained in the Pansare case belong to Sanatha. If that is correct, and confirmed by the state government, it should once again send a report to the Union government recommending a ban," Chavan said.
When his comment was sought on Chavan's claim, Sushil Kumar Shinde said that if Chavan was seious on banning the right-wing organisation, he should have called him and asked him to take immediate action.
"I dont see any fact in his (Chavan's) statement. Firstly, I was not the Home Minister in 2011 when the report was sent and I took over only in 2013. Secondly, when he was the CM, he could have easily called me and given his view point and requested for immediate action. Not doing so shows his carelessness," Shinde said.
"Nobody wants to take responsibility and wants to put the onus on the other person. You cannot just write a letter and leave it there. If he would have called me instead of just sending a report, action would have been immediately taken and the state's request would not have been rejected," Shinde said.