Two years after rationalist and anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead and six months after veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare was murdered, both the cases remain unsolved and the law-enforcement machinery seems to be clueless.
Dabholkar, the founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013 by two unidentified assailants, while he was on his morning walk.
Pansare and his wife, Uma, were attacked in a similar fashion on February 16, 2015, near his home in Kolhapur. Pansare died four days later on February 20, 2015, at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai.
Both cases still remain unsolved. While Dabholkar murder case was initially investigated by the Pune Crime Branch and later transferred to the CBI, the Pansare case was being probed by a SIT of the Kolhapur police.
On Thursday, several events were held in Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur and other parts where people appealed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio, to expedite the probe.
In Pune, a rally started from Omkareshwar Bridge and ended at Mahendale Garage where it was converted to a day-long event including songs, drama and other activities. Dabholkar’s son Hamid and daughter Mukta participated in the rally, where film stars, theatre artistes, singers, activists and politicians participated.
In Kolhapur, Comrade Pansare’s daughter-in-law Medha led a morning walk, where people from all walks of the life participated.
Fight for justice
“It is sad that six months have passed and the killers of comrade Pansare are at large and it is two years now that Dabholkar’s killers are yet to be traced,” said Medha.
“Initially, the case of Dabholkar was investigated by Pune police and now by CBI...the central agency has written to the state government for manpower, but it is not being given to them...nothing has changed at the Centre and state level, the red-tapism still exists,” he said, adding that they were petitioning President Pranab Mukherjee seeking justice.
MANS activists performed a play propagating anti-superstition message. In other cities like Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Nashik and Ahmednagar, the MANS organised a series of programmes to pay tribute to Dabholkar and Pansare.Dabholkar’s killing prompted the state government to enact the revolutionary Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices, and Black Magic Act, 2013.