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Aug 22, 2013 at 08:14pm IST

Dabholkar murder: Centre rejects Maharashtra plea to ban Abhinav Bharat

New Delhi: The Centre has turned down the Maharashtra government's proposal to ban Abhinav Bharat, a right wing outfit accused of carrying out a bomb attack at Malegaon in 2008. The government, however, is yet to make up its mind on banning the Sanatan Sanstha, a group blamed by many for the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar.

The Maharashtra government had two months ago sought a ban on both the outfits.

Official sources said the Union Home Ministry came to a conclusion that Abhinav Bharat has not been involved in any terrorist or anti-national activity in recent years.

Before rejecting the Maharashtra government's proposal, the Home Ministry considered the views of central intelligence agencies and the National Investigation Agency, which has been probing most of the terror cases since 2009.

Abhinav Bharat was set up in 2006 and mainly operates in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Himani Savarkar, the daughter-in-law of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's brother and niece of Nathuram Godse, is also reportedly associated with the group.

The Maharashtra government's proposal came after the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) recommended for a ban claiming that Abhinav Bharat members were allegedly involved in the 2008 Malegaon blast.

The state government had also informed the Bombay High Court in October 2012 about its intention to ban the group. Abhinav Bharat has been at the centre of a war of words between the BJP and the Sangh Parivar on the one hand and their detractors on the other.

Opponents of the BJP have cited the presence of alleged members of the RSS in the ranks of the group and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism and targeted the Sangh Parivar. The BJP and the Sangh Parivar have strongly refuted the charge.

(With additional information from PTI)