Panaji: The Diwali-eve improvised explosive device (IED) blast carried out by members of Hindu rightwing group Sanatan Sanstha (SS) targeted a popular festive gathering organised by a BJP member outfit, a youth leader of the party told a court here on Friday.
"For the last six-seven years, the members of the Sanatan Sanstha used to object to our holding the `Narakasur` effigy competition and they used to complain to the collector of South Goa," Rupesh Mahatme, the president of the Goa unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), a youth wing of the BJP, told the court.
The special trial court was instituted to try the 2009 Diwali-eve blast in Margao, 35 km from here.
Mahatme said 15,000 people had gathered at a Narakasur effigy competition (a mythological demon slaying event held in Goa on the lines of Ravan vadh in other parts of the country) organised by his Solid Party Trust and was attended by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who is the local legislator and Damodar Naik, a BJP legislator.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the blast that killed the two SS members ferrying the bomb to the Narakasur competition, has said in its chargesheet filed earlier this year that the main aim was to create fear in the minds of the people attending the celebrations.
Like the Ram-slaying-Ravan scenes, which are enacted in several other parts of India on Dussehra, Krishna`s slaying of the mythical Narakasur depicted in these festive events is also meant to symbolise the victory of good over evil.
According to the NIA chargesheet, the SS members were irked by the fact that such effigy competitions glorify Narakasur as demon`s effigies are larger and more colourful than the ones of his slayer.
Mahatme in his statement also said that after repeated complaints against the Narakasur competitions, the SS was strangely silent on the issue in 2009.
Thirteen members of the SS have been chargesheeted by the NIA in the case.