Saher Hiba Khan
Khargone town of Madhya Pradesh which witnessed anti-Muslim violence in April this year once again became headlines after a decades-old scam using Islamophobia gets exposed. Two foundations, namely Prakash Smriti Sewa Sansthan (PSSS,1996) and Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez (2002) are accused of conning Hindu farmers into selling their land for cheap prices by fueling anti-Muslim hate.
The name of Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez was changed to PC Mahajan Foundation in 2007.
These two foundations are owned by Ravi Mahajan, a government school teacher, who is allegedly associated with the Hindu extremist group — Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez and Prakash Smriti Sewa Sansthan
“Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez” was formed in 2002 and run by a Hindu outfit. The organisation used two Muslim faces as pawns: Zakir Sheikh, who was a manager at the foundation between 2003-2005, and Bablu Khan to make the whole deal realistic and genuine.
They exploited the farmers’ fear and hatred of Muslims, which was afresh due to the 2002 Gujarat genocide.
The group tricked Hindu farmers by telling them about how the foundation and Sahara India Company have planned to start a Muslim colony, where Islamic school Darul-Uloom, madrasas, slaughterhouses graveyards etc will be built.
95% of Muslim farmers already owned the grounds in that area. This also led to Hindu farmers believing the group.
Muslim farmers were also persuaded to sell their land for supporting charity work but they refused to do it. The land is now being used to build a housing colony that has no Muslim residents, Boomlive reported.
Owais Sheikh, son of Zakir Sheikh told Maktoob how the whole case is a forced one and there is no Hindu-Muslim matter.
Owais says that the PC Mahajan foundation has filed defamation cases against people who called out his father and the foundation for the alleged scam.
“Ravi Mahajan and my father are childhood friends and lived in the same neighbourhood. My father had come from haj during that time and out of friendship served as the manager for Tanzeem-e-Zarkhez. It’s just some RSS internal politics and nothing else. We have all the clearances dating to 2017 and cleared everything in 2017 only. There’s no Hindu-Muslim matter and the narrative of bullying Hindu farmers and conning them, it’s all wrong.”
Prakash Smriti Sewa Sansthan, PSSS was formed in 1996 as an insurance scheme whose catchphrase was to charge Rs 1500 for each membership. It said that if any member passes away, that member shall receive an amount of 1 lakh once the total number of members reaches 20,000.
It also declared that when a member turns 60, they will be provided with a pension according to the market price of that time. The membership fee, which started from Rs 1500, increased to Rs 5000 and then to Rs 8000 in the end, and the establishment successfully gained 20,000 members.
Recently many members of the PSSS trust registered a complaint with the Khargone Police and have alleged that Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez, renamed as PC Mahajan Foundation in 2007, misused their money to buy lands in Rajpura village of Khargone.
Also, over a dozen farmers who had between 2003-2005 sold their nearly 50 acres of land due to “fear of Muslims”, claimed that Ravi Prakash Mahajan owns both trusts and has conned them.
Sudhir Kulkarni, an advocate and also the whistleblower of the scam, first raised the matter in 2017. Sudhir, who has been working with RSS for 30 years, told Maktoob that Ranjit Dandir, current chairman of the Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez trust, has been with the organisation since its inception.
Ranjit Dandir is a senior BJP leader and has also served as president of a cooperative bank.
“Many farmers claim that Ranjit Dandir in 2002 approached and convinced them that it’s better that they sell off their lands to this so-called Muslim organisation Tanzeem-e-Zarkhez, and finish the matter right away. He told the farmers that Muslims will come to live in the area, and graveyards, slaughterhouses, masjids and madrasas will be built there which shall cause issues for them, so it’s suitable to sell off the farmlands. It may be off the record, but Ranjit has been with the organisation since it was formed,” Sudhir Kulkarni told Maktoob.
The formerly Urdu-named group bought 300 acres of land and it is worth millions at present.
“When they successfully bought 200-300 acres of land in the name of Tanzeem-E-Zarkhez. They recorded all the property with the same name in the revenue record, which also has a government record. Through Ranjit Dandir, they transferred that property in the name of PC Mahajan Foundation, and Dandir himself has signed the transfer application. We have the certified copy that Ranjit submitted in the tehsil office which states how the name of the foundation has changed from Tanzeem-Zarkhez to PC Mahajan foundation, so the name should also change in the revenue record as well. Zakir Sheikh has also given an affidavit that the land was bought in the name of Tanzeem and now he has no objection to doing it in the name of PC Foundation,” Sudhir Kulkarni explained.
Sudhir says that the purpose of forming Tanzeem-Zarkhez was always to buy land at low prices through any means and used the Hindu-Muslim narrative, which was quite a fresh matter at that time, to scare Hindus into selling their lands.
Mansharam Panwer, also a member of PSSS had sent a complaint notice to the foundation through Sudhir Kulkarni. Mansharam Panwer is the district president of Hindu Rashtrya Shakti and also a member of Vishv Hindu Parishad. Mansharam complains that his father, also a member of the foundation, who passed away in August this year has not received the promised amount of 1 lakh.
“My father had a policy there, I have too. And according to the policy, I was to receive 1 lakh after my father’s death. But when I went there, they said that my father had no policy registered and that he already took the money from them, an amount of 1500 rupees. How am I to believe these people? I have a receipt with Rs 1750 written in it, in what way did they pay 1500 to my father and that also after 20 years? They told me that I will receive no money and indirectly threatened that I can complain anywhere I want, I may even go to the high court, and it won’t make any difference. It has been published in the papers, the scam these people have pulled and conned innocents,” Mansharam Panwer told Maktoob
Mansharam Panwer has finally registered an FIR against Prakash Smriti Seva Sansthan. Courtesy Maktoob Media