A book called Kshatra Dharma Sadhana published by Hindutva outfit Sanatan Sanstha, which allegedly guided the actions of several persons accused in the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, justifies the use of violence and guns in “destroying evildoers”.
The Kshatra Dharma Sadhana is an 86-page book authored by Sanatan Sanstha founder Jayant Athawale as part of his work on the Science of Spirituality. The Kshatra Dharma Sadhana or ‘Spiritual practice of protecting seekers and destroying evildoers’ is Vol 1 E in the series.
Following investigations into the September 5, 2017 murder of Lankesh, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka Police has concluded that the journalist was killed by members of an organisation who “strictly followed the guidelines and principles mentioned in Kshatra Dharma Sadhana, a book published by Sanatan Sanstha’’.
“The members of this organisation targeted persons who they identified to be inimical to their belief and ideology,” the SIT said in a statement last week.
“In August 2016, in a meeting of the syndicate, the main members identified Ms Lankesh as a “Durjan” (evildoer), as said in the Kshatra Dharma Sadhana, based on her speeches and writings. They jointly hatched a conspiracy to murder Ms Lankesh in furtherance of the achievement of their goal and executed it in several parts,’’ the SIT said.
Lankesh, 55, was killed allegedly by gunman Parashuram Waghmare, who was recruited and trained by a network of people linked to Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. The SIT has arrested 16 of 18 people found to be involved in the murder, including Waghmare who was recruited from a fringe group.
The SIT has found that the 18 people involved in planning and executing the murder were all “active members of an organised crime syndicate” whose members are guided by the Kshatra Dharam Sadhana book, excerpts of which are available on the Internet.
The book justifies violence against “evildoers’’ in many ways by calling it a “war for the sake of society’’ and statements like “violence towards evildoers is non-violence itself’’ and “it is a sin not to slay an evildoer’’.
“In today’s time the demoniacal attitude (sic) does not exist in the form of demons but in the collective form of evildoers in society,’’ the book states. “Society has been invaded by germs in the form of evildoers. If these germs are not destroyed then the entire society shall be destroyed (sic),” it states, adding that “in order to protect yourselves it is now imperative to destroy evildoers in society otherwise they will destroy you”.
According to the Kshatra Dharma Sadhana, around five per cent of the battle against evildoers must be fought in a physical manner, 30 per cent psychologically and 65 percent spiritually. “Only five per cent of the crusade against evil be of a physical nature. 5 per cent of seekers will need to undergo training with weapons,” the book states in a section on “destroying evildoers’’. “It does not matter if one is not used to shooting. When he shoots along with chanting of the Lord’s name the bullet certainly strikes the target due to the inherent power in the Lord’s name,’’ it says.
The book also calls on followers of the cult to draw up their own list of evildoers from around them. “This subject is quite different from others. Nowhere in spirituality is this kind of spiritual practice preached. Consequently you will probably be stunned. However you should contemplate on the topic then you will realise how essential it is for you with regard to spiritual progress,’’ says the book. “Our mission does not end with the destruction of evildoers. We have to establish a state which is conducive for spiritual practice,’’ it states.
In its official statement on the investigations in the Lankesh case, the SIT stated that forensic ballistic analysis has established that the journalist was killed with the same pistol that was used to murder Kannada scholar Prof. M M Kalburgi, 77, in Dharwad on August 30, 2015, and leftist thinker Govind Pansare, 81, in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, on February 16, 2015.
One of two guns used in the shooting of Pansare has been found to be linked to the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, at Pune on August 20, 2013.