Goa: Ramnathi villagers seek ban on Sanatan Sanstha

Panaji: Locals of Ramnathi in North Goa district where the Sanatan Sanstha is headquartered, have demanded a ban on the right-wing outfit and urged the state government to ensure that its ashram is shifted out of their village failing which they would intensify their agitation against them and their 'sadhaks' (seekers).

The villagers have given the state government a week's time to ban the Sanstha or shift the ashram at Ramnathi saying that they would organise a rally and a public meeting at Ponda (taluka) bus stand if their demands are not met. This is not the first time that the villagers have protested against the Sanstha based in Ramnathi in Ponda, known for a cluster of popular temples. They had earlier done so after the 2009 bomb blasts when mastermind Gonda Patil and accomplice Yogesh Naik, both full-time members of the Sanstha, died while ferrying IEDs on their scooter to a Diwali gathering in Margao, located 35 km from Panaji.

Village sarpanch Shamila Lotlikar claimed that she has been approached by several locals with a demand that the ashram be shifted from Ramnathi following which she has appealed to the Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to do so immediately.

Ramnathi Yuva Sangh President Saurabh Lotlikar also sought to free the village from the 'menace of Sanstha' after its members came under the scanner for alleged involvement in the murder of veteran communist leader and rationalist Govind
Pansare in Maharashtra.

Sameer Gaikwad, a full-time seeker of the Sanstha, has been arrested in the Pansare murder case. The Special Investigating Team (SIT), probing the murder of Pansare, suspects role of two more Sanstha members Rudra Patil and Sarang Akolkar alias Kulkarni, who are absconding in connection with the 2009 blast, in the case.

Rudra along with Sarang have been declared absconders by National Investigation Agency (NIA) since the Goa blasts. Pansare was shot along with his wife near his residence in Kolhapur in Maharashtra on February 16. He succumbed to injuries four days later in Mumbai.

Last week, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had ruled out banning the Sanstha saying that just because there is suspicion on one person (Gaikwad) we cannot blame the organisation (Sanstha) which he is associated with. "It would be not be right to ban the entire organisation."

Parsekar's statement came after his own party legislator, Vishnu Wagh, had sought ban on Sanstha. After Gaikwad's arrest, Congress and NCP too had demanded an immediate ban on the outfit.

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