Sanatan Sanstha not a terrorist outfit but a spiritual organisation: Bombay HC

On Friday, March 24, the Bombay High Court observed that the Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha is not a banned terrorist organisation or a frontal organization of any banned terrorist group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004, but a spiritual organisation imparting education on dharma, spirituality and religion.

The division bench of Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Kamal Khata made the observation while granting bail to a member of the Hindu outfit who was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).

According to reports, the member had filed a plea in the Bombay HC challenging the order of the Special Court denying bail to him.

The bail was reportedly denied over allegations levelled by the Maharashtra ATS that the appellant, namely Liladhar alias Vijay Lodhi, was an active member of the organisation Sanatan Sanstha whose objective is to form a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ by secretly forming a terrorist gang within Maharashtra and adjoining states. The state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad had alleged that Lodhi is part of a conspiracy to destabilise India.

It was further alleged that in order to achieve the objective of Sanatan Sanstha, the accused persons, including the appellant, collected or prepared crude bombs and stored explosives and firearms.

Furthermore, it was claimed that some training camps were created in order to provide instruction to members of the ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ in the handling of explosives and the use of firearms and that the appellant benefited from this training.

The counsel representing the member of Sanatan Sanstha had contended that there is no evidence gathered by the police order to prove any relationship between the appellant and the alleged conspiracy. He further asserted that there is no indication that the recovery of crude bombs made from the appellant’s ancestral home was linked to the appellant.

After hearing the arguments presented by both sides, the division bench of Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice Kamal Khata rejected the contention of the State calling the evidence collected by the Maharashtra ATS “quite disappointing” and granted bail to the accused.

“The most intriguing part of this case is that ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ is an organization which has not been declared to be a banned or terrorist organization or a frontal organization of any banned terrorist group within the meaning and contemplation of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004. In fact, the official website of ‘Sanatan Sanstha’ shows that it is a registered charitable trust and its aim is to impart spiritual knowledge to the curious in society, inculcate religious behaviour in the masses and provide personal guidance to seekers for their spiritual upliftment. The official website also throws light upon the activities of ‘Sanatan Sanstha,” the court order read.

Furthermore, the high court noted that the organization’s initiative was aimed at spreading spirituality in society.

“These activities include such initiatives as are taken for spreading spirituality in the society, organizing free of charge lectures and guidance camps on various aspects of spirituality and for initiating interested into spiritual endeavours, holding weekly Satsangs in local languages, guiding about the spiritual science, organizing ‘Bal Sanskar Varg / Moral Education Class for children, conducting education on dharma/righteousness and so on”, the order added.

Source: OpIndia

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