On December 14, the radical Hindutva groups in Pune are giving “Hindutva Shourya Puraskar (Bravery award)” to Dhananjay Desai alias Bhai, chief of Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS), who is currently in jail in connection with the murder of Muslim techie Mohsin Shaikh.
Desai is among the 21 HRS activists arrested by the Pune police in connection with the murder of a 28-year-old Muslim techie Moshin Sadiq Shaikh in Hadapsar on June 2, this year following the communal clashes that started due to the spread of derogatory pictures of Maratha King Shivaji and Bal Thackeray uploaded on a Facebook (FB) profile.
Desai’s wife Rasika is likely to collect the award on his behalf at the hands of none other than Pramodi Mutalik of Shriram Sena, during a function – Shivpratap Din Utsav — organised mainly by the Samasta Hindu Aghadi, involving various Hindutva groups in Pune, to remember the heroic victory of legendary king Shivaji Maharaj over Adilshahi warrior Afzal Khan. Besides Desai, the groups will also felicitate advocate Nandu Phadke with Pant Bokil Puraskar.
Milind Ekbote, leader of Samasta Hindu Aghadi, who had also contested the recent state assembly elections on a Shiv Sena ticket, said, “Dhananjay Desai has been falsely arrested in the Mohsin Shaikh murder case. There is no proof of his involvement in the murder. He was arrested only because of he is a firebrand Hindutva leader. The Hindutva Shourya Puraskar has nothing to do with the murder case.
“Desai is in jail for over four months for no reason. But he is still committed to the cause of Hindutva. We are going to honour him because he united a large number of Hindu youths and created awareness among them on cow slaughter and love jihad. He never compromises on Hindutva issues. His wife will accept the honour on his behalf,” said Ekbote.
The Shivpratap Din Utsav will be held at the Tilak Smarak Mandir in Pune on December 14, Sunday evening. Sources from the organisers said that invitations have been given to several Hindutva activists including those associated with the RSS and political parties like the BJP and the Sena. However, none of the actual office bearers of RSS, BJP and Shiv Sena are a part of the organising team.
When contacted, Himani Savarkar of Hindu outfit Abhinav Bharat said she is aware of the programme. A senior RSS functionary said that they are not at all involved in this program to honour Desai. Shyam Deshpande, Shiv Sena’s Pune city president said he has not received any invitation from Ekbote or any other member of organising team of Shivpratap Din Utsav and so he cannot comment about it.
Meanwhile, the same Hindutva groups had a couple of years before had similarly declared an award to gangster Sharad Mohol, who allegedly killed Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative in Yerwada jail in June 2012. Last year, they had honoured corporator Thakur Rajasingh of Hyderabad for his work on anti cow slaughter and agitations against Owaisi brothers of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
Ekbote, the key person behind the Shivpratap Din Utsav, was never officially associated to Shivsena before he contested state election on party ticket. He was the corporator of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) from 1992 to 1997 and also won as independent in 2002 civic elections from Shivajinagar. Then he contested the 2009 state assembly elections from Kasba Peth constituency on the ticket of Hindu Mahasabha, a political party following Hindutva ideology. He has been organising events in the name of RSS founder Dr Keshav Hedgevar and second Sarsanghachalak Madhav Golvalkar for last many years.
Founder of the Samasta Hindu Aghadi, Ekbote has close relations with Hindutva organisations like Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Rashtra Sena and Abhinav Bharat. Ekbote also had a police protection following threats from his ideological opponents. He is considered to be the key persons behind many Hindutva programs like “Goraksha Andolan”, a movement against cow slaughter and agitations on sensitive communal issues.