Mumbai: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut Monday felicitated lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar, who is currently defending some right-wing activists booked in murder cases of prominent rationalists, and accused the BJP government of falling short of expectations of the Hindu community.
Punalekar is the national secretary of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, a voluntary organisation of "nationalist" Hindu advocates. It works closely with right-wing Sanatan Sanstha. Punalekar is defending in court the Hindutva activists who are accused of being involved in conspiracy to kill rationalist Narendra Dabholkar (2013) and Left leader Govind Pansare (2015).
Some activists are also suspects in the killings of Karnataka scholar M M Kalburgi (2015) and journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh (2017).
The felicitation of Punalekar was organised by Rashtriya Patrakar Manch in south Mumbai.
On the occasion, the Shiv Sena MP alleged that the government is trying to preserve "fake secularism by sacrificing innocent Hindus".
He said Hindus are being weakened at various levels. "This is the country of Hindus and we consider it as the 'Hindurshtra'. Despite so, the rulers are not ready to utter a single word about construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
"When BJP is in power at the Centre and in several sates, why an ordinance is not promulgated for building the temple of Lrd Ram?" Raut asked. He also accused the BJP of dragging its feet on the issue of implementation of Uniform Civil Code.
"People are disillusioned with this so-called 'Hindutvavadi' government, which has been in power since 2014, on various fronts--from Ram temple to the issue of implementation of Uniform Civil Code," he said. Raut justified the Parishad defending Hindu men in the murder cases.
"When terrorists like Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Memon can get an advocate then how can the similar act be termed wrong when the HVP (Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad) comes forward for the defence of the accused persons?" asked Raut.
He said Punalekar has helped to secure exoneration of many Hindus and he should continue to work in the same direction.
Punalekar said, "We will not only liberate the youths arrested under the pretext of so-called 'Hindu terrorism' if they are innocent, but even if they are guilty, we will provide them legal advice free of cost, because we don't doubt their Hindutva and objectives behind it".