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The Rediff Interview/Abhinav Bharat founder Pankaj Phadnis

'We are not linked to Malegaon blast accused'

October 31, 2008

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Abhinav Bharat, a social organisation based in Mumbai, is in the news after the Mumbai Anti Terror Squad operation found that some of it members were allegedly involved in the Malegaon blast.

Pankaj Phadnis who co-founded Abinav Bharat, says that it is not his fault if the men alleged to be accomplices of arrested Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur had used the name of his organisation.

Abinav Bharat is a registered charitable trust and donations to it are exempt under Section 80G of the IT Act. It is named after the secret revolutionary society founded by Veer Savarkar in 1905 that fought for a politically independent India. Abhinav Bharat seeks to work for an economically and socially independent India.

In an interview with's Vicky Nanjappa, Phadnis says that they stand for a peaceful, plural, inclusive and just human society.

Your organisation is in the news after the arrest of a Sadhvi and her accomplices. It is being said that one of the accomplices, a retired army man is a member of the Abhinav Bharat. What do you have to say about this?

I have no clue who this man Ramesh Upadhaya is. We are a registered charitable trust and have nothing to do with these men.

But then why has the Mumbai ATS taken the name of your organisation in connection with the man who has been arrested for his alleged role in the Malegaon blast.

I have no idea why they have done this. As I mentioned earlier, I do not know this man and why the name of the organisation has been dragged into this case.

Your website has been shut down ever since this case broke out. Why has that happened?

Look, is not our site. Our site is called and there is a difference. Check this site, it is still accessible.

But did you not keep a check on the website which incidentally has the same name as yours. How did such a let up happen?

We do not keep a tab on all this. We are a small organisation and we do not have the infrastructure to keep a tab on all these persons who register in our name.

Are you saying the there is no connection with the organisation started by those men and the organisation which you run?

Exactly. We are a separate organisation and if some person is running an organisation which has the same name as ours then how am I responsible for it?

You do not have seem to done anything to wriggle out of this.

Yes of course I have. I am trying to convey to everyone that those persons are in no way connected with us. I have also written to the Mumbai ATS about it. I have made my stand very clear to the police and explained as to how we had nothing to do with those men. I have said that no person arrested in connection with Malegaon blast case has anything to do with Abhinav Bharat. If there is any other organisation that calls itself Abhinav Bharat -- it does so illegally and is an impostor. I am sure the law enforcing agencies will deal with them in an appropriate manner.

There seems to be a new trend evolving in terrorism and that is a tit for tat attitude. Do you subscribe to this view?

To be honest these persons have tarnished the name of the community. We do not subscribe to their views.

The experts say that Hindu terrorism has emerged as a result of Islamic terror. Do you agree?

I do not think this is correct. In my opinion, terrorism in any form is bad and at Abhinav Bharat we do not subscribe to this view. We believe in promoting unity and also on our site we have mentioned that we want to encourage team games such as football and hockey.

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