November 8, 2009
Investigators believe that the Sanatan Sanstha men who were killed while allegedly planting bombs in Goa during Diwali celebrations last month were hoping to fan communal tensions by misleading the police through items they wanted to leave behind at the site: a shopping bag from a shop in ‘Khan Market’, Delhi, a bottle of traditional perfume popular among Muslims and an empty bag of branded Basmati rice on which all the words were in Urdu.
The items were recovered by police from the site of the crude bomb blast in Margao on October 16 in which two Sanatan members, Malgounda Patil and Yogesh Naik, were killed. It was found after investigations and the subsequent arrest of two men suspected to be linked to Patil and Naik that they were allegedly carrying these items to leave them behind at the blast site and signal a Muslim hand.
“The material was enough to spark communal trouble in Margao and extremist elements from outside would have found it easy to aggravate it,” said an officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Margao, Goa’s main commercial city, is represented by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat in the state Assembly and has a large Muslim population. Kamat, incidentally, was near the site of the blast, taking part in the Diwali celebrations but was not hurt.
The alleged plan to indicate the bomb blast to be the handiwork of Muslim groups had echoes of the Malegaon bomb blast last year, the officer said. Members of Hindu extremist group Abhinav Bharat, who have been accused for that blast, had parked the motorbike packed with the bomb below the defunct first-floor office of the outlawed Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Patil and Naik are accused of planting three bombs at the crowded Diwali celebrations in Margao and another at a celebration in Sancaole town 20 km away. Of these, only one of the bombs in Margao exploded, prematurely police say. While Patil died within hours, Naik succumbed to his injuries in hospital days later.
Patil worked as an administrator at the Ramnathi headquarters of Sanatan while Naik, a teacher at a school for mentally challenged students, supplied milk to the organisation and circulated its mouthpiece Sanatan Prabhat.
Subsequently, the Special Investigating Team constituted by the Goa police to probe the blast arrested Vinay Talekar and Vinayak Patil, alleging that they were linked to the conspiracy. Sanatan has denied it had anything to do with the blast.