23/09/2015 3:53 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Goa Chief Minister Rules Out Banning Sanatan Sanstha

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 9: Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (R) shake hands with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan, on November 9, 2014 in New Delhi, India. With 21 new faces inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi Council of Ministers on Sunday, the strength of his team now stands at 66. This is the first expansion since Modi took oath with 45 ministers on May 26. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- In the midst of polarising opinions over the fate of Sanatan Sanstha, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said today that although a member of the group is a suspect in the killing of well-known rationalist Govind Pansare, the Goa-based right-wing group will not be banned.

"Sanatan Sanstha cannot be blamed for the mistake of one individual. Let the Maharashtra government investigate the case first," he said, ANI reported.

Sameer Gaikwad, a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested on September 16 in connection with Pansare's murder.

In Pansare's case, the police are looking for Rudra Patil, another member Sanatan Sanstha, who was declared absconder by National Investigation Agency since the 2009 Goa blasts, NDTV reported.

Citing police sources, NDTV recently reported that Gaikwad's phone was tapped by investigators, and he is heard bragging about killing Pansare, and targeting Marathi journalist Nikhil Wagle.

Revelations about Wagle has sparked debate on whether Sanatan Sanstha should be banned, and the threat posed by right-wing groups to those writers and intellectuals, who oppose or take a contrarian stand to their worldview.

In August 2013, author and activist, Narendra Dabholkar, was shot dead in Pune. In February 2015, Pansare was shot dead in his hometown of Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Last month, renowned Kannada writer, M.M. Kalburgi was shot dead in Karnataka’s Dharwad city. All three scholars waged a battle against superstitious practices and right-wing groups.

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