Sanatan Sanstha, the Hindu right-wing group often at loggerheads with Narendra Dabholkar, on Wednesday sought to distance itself from the anti-superstition activist's killing.
"We are shocked by Dabholkar's murder. We don't have anything to do with the killing," Sanatan spokesperson Abhay Vartak told reporters.
Dabholkar was shot dead by two unidentified assailants while he was out on a morning walk in Pune on Tuesday.
Conceding that Dabholkar did "commendable" work, Vartak said, "We had differences with his ideology, not with him as an individual."
"Dabholkar was against our belief that god is all pervasive and that only his will reigns supreme," he said.
Reacting to media reports, Vartak said, "We never said that we will do another Gandhi (kill Dabholkar like Godse did the Mahatma)."
He appealed to the media and the public -- against making “Sanatan a scapegoat".
"Tomorrow, anyone will come and place a bomb in order to trap us," he said.
"We work in a spiritual field. It was an ideological struggle (with Dabholkar). We did not have any personal enmity," Vartak said.
A Sanatan functionary present at the media briefing alleged that Dabholkar's Andrashradda Nirmulan Samiti received foreign donations.