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No connection between Pansare, Dabhodhar, Kalburgi murders, says govt

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New Delhi: While political pundits in India attributed the poor performance of the BJP in the Bihar polls to the ‘growing intolerance’ and the killing of rationalists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi, the government in the Centre on Wednesday said, the gruesome incidents were not connected.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told Rajya Sabha that as per available information, there is no report to suggest any linkage/connection between the murders of Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi.

Speaking during the Question Hour, he further clarified that there was no proposal to outlaw the right-wing group Santhan Sanstha.

Santhan Sanstha came into the fore for all the wrong reasons when one of its activists was arrested for his alleged involvement with the murder of Pansare.

However, Sanathan Sanstha admitted that the accused was its member, but it rubbished any party’s role in the killing.

Rijiju further said that law enforcing agencies are constantly monitoring the activities of the organisation which are said to spread tension. The government is committed to ensuring maintenance of peace and communal harmony in the country, he added.

A left-wing politician and author, Pansare, was shot on February 16, 2015, in Kolhapur, Maharashtra.  While Dabholkar was murdered on August 2013, Kalburgi was shot on August this year.

Several Sahitya Academy award winner denounced their prize for the government’s inaction to take speedy action against the culprit.

The government’s alleged failure to contain the situation drew flak from several quarters of the civil society. Besides, the ‘award wapsi‘ programme, there were other rallies and marches to protest the deaths.

The Lalu-Nitish coalition in Bihar made good use of the situation to stop the BJP juggernaut and leapfrogged the NDA to assume power in Bihar.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Indian Navy is ‘totally secular’, says Navy Chief

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New Delhi: When the term ‘growing intolerance’ had become a household name in India, Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan stated on Thursday that the Indian Navy was “totally secular” and every vessel of the force was a microcosm of the country.

Claiming that the India Navy upholds and maintains the true spirit of secularism, Dhowan further said that the ideals of secularism initiates from an individual.

“I would like to talk about how it is in the Navy. Every ship of the Indian Navy is a microcosm of India, where we have personnel from every single state representing, including every religion as well,” Dhowan noted.

“Therefore Navy is totally secular in nature and it starts from our individual and smallest unit. That trend and that feeling, and that spirit is maintained,” he added.

Dhowan’s comment are important in the backdrop of an open letter by former Naval chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdass to the Prime Minister and the President on the issues of ‘growing intolerance’.

Dhowan further assured that religious fundamentalism cannot influence the unity of the Navy personnel.

Earlier, a defence think-tank had proposed for holding a talk on the threats to security arising due to religious intolerance.

At the annual press conference of the Navy Day which is on Friday, Admiral Dhowan was asked if he felt the “growing intolerance and radicalisation” posed national and global threat to security.

However, the arrests of ISI moles recently have underscored the need for more vigilance. It is evident that the Pakistan-based intelligence agency had been fuelling unrest using the ‘religious intolerance’ factor.

Amid reports that the ISI agents nabbed from the Kolkata port area had sent pictures of warships, the Navy played down the incident citing that the security of the ships was never compromised.

However, the police have recovered a few rough drawn maps of the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) from thye arrested agents. Police also apprehends that one of the agents had sent picture of the battleships that were being built by the shipyard. These ships were generally commissioned to the Navy.

(With inputs from agencies)

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