THE Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) on Saturday expressed its concerns over the shifting of focus on “hypnotism” after the arrest of Sanatan Sanstha member in connection with the murder of veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare.
MANS said the focus should be on activities of the organisations which are trying to muzzle progressive voices and on the action the state should take against them.
Sanatan was founded by hypnotherapist Jayant Athavle. Apparently, Dr Shyam Manav, founder of the Akhil Bhartiya Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ABANS), had made allegations that hypnotism was key weapon of Sanatan Sanstha. Manav, who claims to have worked with Athavle in the past, had reportedly said that Sanatan hypnotised young people and led them to evil path, a claim vehemently denied by Sanatan Sanstha.
Like MANS, which was founded by slain rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Manav’s ABANS too works against superstitions. But the two organisations are known to have certain differences.
On Saturday, MANS office-bearers, including its state executive president Avinash Patil, Dabholkar’s son Hamid, who is state general secretary, and others held a press conference arguing that “hypnotism” was an unwanted topic, but was still being discussed deliberately for diverting the attention from the prime issue of radicalisation caused by organisations like Sanatan Sanstha. They, however, refused to take names.
“The investigation teams have done a good job by arresting Sameer Gaikwad in the Pansare murder case. They should not consider issues like hypnotism and instead focus on the murder probe. We want the investigators probing murder cases of Dr Dabholkar, Pansare and M M Kalburgi to work in tandem as there are striking similarities in the three crimes,” said Hamid Dabholkar.
Patil said that a fortnight back, they had written a letter to the Karnataka government, requesting it to probe Kalburgi murder while taking Dabholkar and Pansare murders into account. “Since there are striking similarities in all the three murders, the Karnataka government should carry out probe against organisations and individuals who hold radical views and have made them known,” said Patil.
Hamid Dabholkar said hypnotism could not provoke a person to cause violence. “There are different ways of brainwashing a person. The effect of hypnotism is less as compared to other factors. Certain organisations are radicalising people through different ways in the name of religion. So hypnotism can be one of the factors behind the crime. But the major reason is radicalisation,” he said.
MANS said that state and central governments should declare their stand on Sanatan Sanstha. “There were proposals sent by the state government to the Centre for ban on Sanstha in the 2009 and 2011. But due to certain discrepancies, the Centre sent it back to the state. Now, the issue is with the union home ministry,” said Patil.
Hamid, however, said imposing a ban on a radical outfit was not the ultimate solution. “There is provision to ban any outfit for two years. But in case the ban is implemented, the radical outfits may start operating with other names. So ban is just one step and not the ultimate solution. There needs to be mass awareness at various levels against such radical outfits,” he said.
When contacted, Shyam Manav said he had not started the debate on hypnotism. “Yes, I agree that focus of the investigation should be on the activities and action to be taken against the organisations that are trying to eliminate people who speak against them and the ideologies they are seeking to propagate,” he said.
MANS chief Avinash Patil said it was a matter of concern that the Shiv Sena, which was sharing power in the state government, was taking a stand in favour of a radical outfit like Sanatan Sanstha. “We appeal to them (Sena) to study the issue in depth before taking any decision (on Sanatan). A party sharing power should act with responsibility,” he said.