4 Years After Narendra Dabholkar Was Shot Dead For Fighting Superstitions, His Family Still Awaits Justice
On the fourth death anniversary of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, his children, Hamid and Mukta Dhabolkar, gathered on 20 August at Pune’s Sadhana Centre to pay homage to his ideals and notions that he had upheld in his fight against blind faith and superstitions, reported India Today.
On 19 August, Hamid and Mukta Dabholkar led a candlelight protest at Shinde Bridge, where the rationalist was murdered. In Mumbai on 20 August, activists and representatives of various organizations took part in a ‘Nirbhay Rally’ to protest the murder of not only Dabholkar, but also another progressive thinker, Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, and rationalist, M.M. Kalburgi in Dharwad of Karnataka.
The similar modus operandi of all the three murders have led the activists to believe that it was a premeditated machination of eliminating all those who criticised superstition or right-wing fundamentalism.
It has been four years since Dabholkar was brutally murdered for his beliefs and even after this long span of time, his family awaits justice.
For the last four years, activists across the country have been observing the death anniversary of the rationalist by intensifying their “Jawab Do” campaign.
The campaign seeks answers as to why the culprits behind the assassinations of Dr Dabholkar along with Govind Pansare and Prof. M. M. Kalburgi have not been brought to justice even after four years of committing the crime. Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti has been fighting to bring the assailants to the books.
Dabholkar and his work
Hailing from Satara, Maharashtra, Narendra Dabholkar was a medical practitioner for almost 12 years. It was in the 1980s that he turned towards social work and in 1989 formed the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti.
The Samiti aimed at fighting superstitions and blind faith among the common people. It dedicated its time in confronting dubious tantriks and claimed holy men who promised ‘miracle cures’ for ailments.
Dabholkar was also working for the upliftment of Dalits and curbing the caste-based violence perpetrated against them.
On 2010, Dabholkar pushed for the need of an anti-superstition law, which finally came into force in December 2013.
However, he was brutally murdered by two bike-borne assailants in Pune on 20 August 2013, while he was out on his morning walk. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which, along with the Special Investigation Team appointed by the state government, has named Virendra Tawde, Sarang Akolkar, and Vinay Pawar of the Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing Hindu group, as prime suspects in the case.
While Tawde was arrested by the CBI in June 2016, Akolkar and Pawar are absconding. The CBI has maintained that it was Akolkar and Pawar who shot Dabholkar dead.
In March 2017, the CBI announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh for information on Akolkar and Pawar, but no headway has been made in this case.
The Logical Indian contacted Narendra Nayak, a well-known rationalist, intellectual, and Godman debunker from Mangalore, Karnataka, about the current situation of the Dabholkar case. He said, “The way the investigations are going on, it is clear that it was a very well-planned plot and it has been executed by professional killers. A few weeks back, in a conference in Goa, the Sanatan Sanstha had mentioned they are always at loggerheads with the rationalists. It is evident that vested political interests are the reason behind the murder.”
Dabholkar’s family is distraught with the pace at which the investigation is going on and have expressed deep resentment over the failure of the state machinery to catch the killers. Hamid Dabholkar opined that it was not only the murder of the rationalists like that of his father, Kalburgi and Pansare that is alarming – it needs to be realised that these killings are conspiracies to kill free speech that raises voice against dogmas.
The Logical Indian urges the concerned authorities to look into the matter and ensure proper investigation so that justice is meted out to the deserved.