Remove 'secular' from Constitution as it puts Hindus at disadvantage, says Sanatan Sanstha

Amid a debate over banning Sanatan Sanstha, the radical Hindutva outfit made a demand on Monday to exclude the word "secular" from the Preamble.

Through the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India, added in 1976, the Preamble asserts that India is a secular nation. Elaborating on the demand at a press conference, Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Chetan Rajhans said that the Constitution does not define which aspect of India is secular: the country, government, or the people. He further added that because of the addition of the term, Hindus are "at a disadvantage"."No other country in the world puts its majority at a disadvantage," the outfit said.

Rajhans further claimed that "secular" was enacted at the time of Emergency by former prime minister Indira Gandhi, under pressure from various entities. "So, if there is a provision to add words, these can also be removed by the same provisions," he told a media conference in Mumbai.

Facing a barrage of questions, Rajhans said that the issue is "nothing new" and that the organisation has been demanding this for long through constitutional means.

Although the outfit is a non-government charitable trust, it is currently facing massive criticism for being allegedly linked to terror activities, and murder cases of rationalist thinker Narendra Dabholkar and journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Rajhans said that both Sanatan Sanstha and another outfit Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, which are facing the heat of various investigating agencies, are purely religious organisations. "We are being defamed in a pre-planned manner. We do not support or approve of violence in any form. Our mission for the past 27 years is to propagate 'dharma and spirituality," he said.

He pointed out that neither the Anti-Terrorism Squad-CBI chargesheets nor the remand applications have named Sanatan Sanstha in any of the murder cases. "It is only parties like the Congress, communists, some intellectuals and thinkers and progressive organisations who are targeting the small organisation," he said.

"Demanding a ban on us or arresting our leader, just because the accused are arrested, is ridiculous," Rajhans said.

On 23 August, Prithviraj Chavan, who had served as the state's chief minister from November 2010 to September 2014, said that his government had sent a proposal to ban the organisation in 2011 and followed it up with a 1000-page dossier detailing the activities of the radical outfit in 2012.

He said the dossier was "without any prejudice" and was based on a report prepared by the ATS on the activities of the Sanstha.

Chavan's comments came a day after Union minister of state for home affairs Hansraj Ahir said the Centre did not have "complete information" on any proposal from the Maharashtra government to ban the outfit.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 22:14:56 IST

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