2 held for Thane blast, Vashi bomb

The state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Monday made its first major breakthrough in the two cases of crude bombs planted at auditoriums in Navi Mumbai and Thane recently, with the arrest of two men claiming affiliation to an organisation called the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti.

According to the ATS, the two were also involved in a minor explosion at a Panvel cinema hall screening the film Jodhaa Akbar in February this year. The two claim to have planted the explosives on their own and not at the behest of any organisation.

According to the ATS, the duo claim their attacks were planned in retaliation to the screenings of the movie Jodhaa Akbar and the Marathi play Aamhi Panchpute, as they felt these caricaturised Hindu deities and insulted Hindu sentiments. The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti had earlier staged protests against the screenings of the movie and the producer of the play.

The arrested accused are Ramesh Hanumant Gadkari (50) and Mangesh Dinkar Nikam (34). They were picked up by the ATS early on Monday from New Panvel and remanded to police custody till June 24.

"They have been arrested in connection with the crude bomb planted at Vishnudas Bhave auditorium in Vashi on May 31, and the bomb that exploded at Gadkari Rangayatan auditorium in Thane on June 4. They have been booked under the Indian Penal Code for attempt to murder, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means, and voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous means, and under the Explosives Substances Act. ... we have evidence that they are also involved in the small explosion that took place in a theatre screening Jodhaa Akbar at Panvel on February 20," said Joint Commissioner of Police (ATS) Hemant Karkare.

"They have told us that they are full-time members of the Hindu Jangruti Samiti and the Sanatan Sanstha. However, we have not recovered any documents to prove their membership. They claim that they did not act on orders from any organisation. However, we are probing the possible involvement of the organisation. Office bearers have been questioned and more arrests are likely," said Karkare.

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