Hindu Mahasabha to give legal aid to ex-Army official

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Pune, Nov 1 (UNI) The Hindu Mahasabha today announced that it would provide legal aid to the Malegaon bomb blast suspects from Pune -- Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay and Sameer Kulkarni, and not to the umbrella organisation Abhinav Bharat of which the two are members.

Talking to UNI, Himani Savarkar, national president of Abhinav Bharat and Hindu Mahasabha, said both the accused refused to hire lawyers when they were produced before the Nashik court on Wednesday.

Ms Savarkar is the daughter of Gopal Godse, brother of Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. She was married to late Ashok Savarkar, nephew of freedom fighter Vinayak Savarkar, who had launched Abhinav Bharat before independence for raising an armed struggle against the British Government. The organisation was dissolved in 1952.

She claimed that she had become the national president of Abhinav Bharat only eight months ago and did not know anything about the website of the organisation. The registered website of the Abhinav Bharat has been shut since October 22 arrests. Before being shut-off, it displayed the group's constitution and stated that Upadhyay was its working president.

''We will never support terrorism as it kills innocent people.

But, as charges against these suspects are not proved, the Hindu Mahasabha has decided to provide them legal aid,'' Ms Savarkar said.

She said,''I know Kulkarni as he was also associated with the RSS.'' Asked if she knew Lt Col Prasad Purohit who is being questioned for his alleged links with Abhinav Bharat members, she said, ''I have seen him once but there was no interaction.'' UNI SP SSS GT AS1943

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