Hindu militant body Sanatan Sanstha ‘a spiritual body imparting education on dharma’: Bombay HC

In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court noted that militant Hindu organization Sanatan Sanstha is not a banned or terrorist organisation under the UAPA Instead, the organization is considered a spiritual group that provides education on topics such as dharma, religion, and spirituality.

A division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Kamal Khata, made this observation while granting bail to one Vijay Lodhi accused under the UAPA, and setting aside a special court order which had rejected the bail plea of Lodhi, the Bar and Bench reported.

Lodhi was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad and was accused of being “part of the conspiracy to destabilize India and destroy the sovereignty and integrity of India by indulging in some terrorist and violent acts, did some overt acts leading to constitution of offences.” Lodhi denied the allegations and stated there was no evidence to show any connection between him and the alleged conspiracy.

Lodhi had been arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) for allegedly collecting or preparing and storing explosives and fire arms in his house for the Sanatan Sanstha. The Sanatan Sanstha is accused of killing several prominent individuals including MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, and Gauri Lankesh.

The HC said: “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.”

The HC also noted that the organization was a registered charitable trust aimed to impart spiritual knowledge and inculcate religious behaviour in the masses.

The Maharashtra ATS accused the organization of striving to establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and of conspiring to achieve it through several means, including organizing training camps for explosives and firearms, causing instability and undermining the country’s sovereignty.


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