Both the leadership of late former Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) secretary general Satnarayan Maharaj and the legitimacy of his son Vijay Maharaj, as current acting secretary general, came in for criticism at a media conference on Sunday.
The conference, held at the Vyas Hindu Complex in Charlieville, Chaguanas, was hosted by three pundits who are part of a group that filed a pre-action protocol letter calling on Vijay Maharaj and Krishna Rambally to desist from holding themselves out as secretary general and president general, respectively. However, two pundits from the original eight, have since distanced themselves from the pre-action protocol letter.
Pundit Bhadase Seetahal-Maraj said that in November 2018, Sat Maharaj (who died last November) asked him to endorse his (Sat) son as the next secretary general, but Seetahal-Maraj said he told him that Hindus should decide the leadership. He said there were many Hindus who are qualified for the post of secretary general and questioned what contribution Vijay Maharaj had made.
“I will not sell out the Hindu community,” Seetahal-Maraj vowed. The pre-action protocol letter insists Seetahal-Maharaj was constitutionally appointed president general and not Rambally.
DEVOID OF ANY MERIT
However, last Friday, on the Maha Sabha Strikes Back on Radio and TV Jaagriti, Maha Sabha legal adviser Dinesh Rambally stated that the pre-action protocol letter was devoid of any merit. He said the contents of the letter were factually erroneous and matters of law and interpretation were misconceived.
The Maha Sabha legal adviser further stated that in so far as it was a pre-action letter, the Maha Sabha would observe the pre-action protocol practice direction provided for in the Rules of the Supreme Court and in this regard, a response would be issued to the pundits’ pre-action protocol, in due course .
Former SDMS executive member Pundit Satyanand Maharaj said that democracy was being subverted with the Guyana elections and also within the SDMS. He said the Sanatanist group was built on democracy, tolerance and creating a space for everyone but the opposite was experienced under Sat’s leadership.
“Under the late Mr Maharaj there was atrophy, there was intolerance for anyone who shared an opposing view or dared to oppose him,” Satyanand Maharaj alleged. He said Swaha, the Trinidad Academy of Hinduism and satellite pundits had their genesis in the SDMS but could not find a place there, due to the intolerance.
“And when you could not agree with Sat, like myself, like Pundit Bhadase and Pundit Khemraj, he would invent all sorts of stories, he was a magnificent storyteller, to say why you were not a good person,” the pundit said. He claimed when he and others spoke up, they were pushed out, ostracised and threatened.
He stressed that the SDMS operates under a constitution and is not a cow that could be passed on from father to son. Pundit Khemraj Vyas said that in 2017, Sat Maharaj went on television and unconstitutionally dissolved the Pandits Parishad (Council of Pandits) to get rid of him. Vyas described Satnarayan Maharaj as a “colossal creature” who only took advice from himself.
He said as soon as Sat died there was a grab for power by his son who called himself the acting secretary general despite being unelected.
‘ALL KNEW WHAT
SAT STOOD FOR’
When contacted for a response last evening, Vijay Maharaj said he had not heard what was said about him and his father by the pundits at the press conference in Charlieville and would “possibly review it.” Maharaj added, though, that his father died three months ago and questioned why the pundits were speaking about him now.
He added that the entire country and the world knew who Sat Maharaj was and what he stood for. “I don’t have time to waste on that,” Maharaj said. Regarding the pundits’ pre-action protocol letter, Maharaj reiterated that the matter was in the hands of his attorneys. He has 28 days to respond to the March 4 pre-action protocol letter.
At the press conference on Sunday, attorney Vashist Maharaj said the group had written to the SDMS asking for dialogue and another letter, asking for openness and transparency. He said when this was not forthcoming, the pre-action protocol letter was issued.
“We have no quarrel with the Maha Sabha. We are saying that two people have hoisted themselves into office to which they do not belong,” the attorney said.
He said that after the letter was sent out with the names of eight pundits, he (Vashist Maharaj) received a letter from an attorney representing Pundit Sunil Seetahal-Maharaj claiming that he had seen a copy of the pre-action protocol letter and no longer wished to be associated.
He said the question has to be asked who sent the letter to Seetahal-Maharaj who is in India and whether there were any threats or inducements made to cause him to withdraw his support for the pre-action protocol letter. Maharaj said the same applied to pundit Deochan Maharaj, who also distanced himself from the pre-action protocol letter.
The six pundits’ attorney stressed that the SDMS constitution does not provide for Sat’s son to ascend to the post of secretary general upon his death.