The arrest of Mangesh Harban Singh and Rasool Ansari -- allegedly the two men who shot dead anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar earlier this year — has indirectly helped right wing groups such as the Sanatan Sanstha. The Sanstha’s name had cropped up repeatedly in connection with Dabholkar’s killing, as it had been a target of the activist’sire a number of times.
According to a statement released by the Goa police, the duo was involved in three other murder cases and was staying at an associate’s house in Goa for the past fortnight. “Theyeven worked as vendors in a stall at the Old Goa fair. The Pune police got a tip off and informed us,” said a Goa police official.
Expectedly, within hours of the two being arrested, the Sanstha went all out to reiterate its innocence. One may recall that Sanstha members had to convene a press conference after Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune on August 20, to clarify that while they differed with the activist on ideological grounds, none of their members had any hand in the murder.
On Saturday, Anand Jakhotia, the Sanstha’s spokesperson said, “We have maintained that we have no connection with the killing. Dabholkar didn’t believe in god’s existence, whereas we do. But that doesn’t mean we will kill anyone who does not agree with us. None of the two arrested are our organisation’s members.”
Dabholkar was killed the morning of August 20 on the Omkareshwar bridge in Pune while he was out for his routine morning walk. Since then the police haven’t been able to solve the case. However, with the arrest of the two, the cops are claiming they are close to solving the mystery.