4 days after being shot, anti-toll tax crusader Govind Pansare breathes his last

Senior CPI leader Govind Pansare had been shifted to Breach Candy hospital for treatment of a lung infection he developed from the bullet injury; doctors said he died from excessive bleeding

Four days after veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare was shot during a morning walk near his house in Kolhapur, he passed away around 11 pm on Friday night, after he was shifted to Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai.

ALSO READ: Govind Pansare shot at five times during morning walk

The 82-year-old had been brought to Mumbai earlier in the evening to tackle complications that arose due to a bullet injury to his lungs. Dr T P Lahane, dean of JJ Hospital, who was guiding the Kolhapur medical team on the course of treatment for the leader, said, “Pansare had developed lung infection, and died due to excessive bleeding. However, the exact cause of death will be established after the post-mortem on Saturday.”

Govind Pansare
Veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare being shifted from a Kolhapur hospital to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai after he experienced difficulty breathing due to post-surgical complications

Doctors in Kolhapur had successfully removed a bullet lodged in his body, but Pansare then experienced difficulty breathing due to the lung infection, and his diabetic condition also added to the complication.

Around 9.15 am on Monday morning, the senior communist leader and his wife, Uma (72) were barely 50 feet from their home, Sagar Mahal, returning from a morning walk when gunmen on a motorcycle stopped them on the pretext of asking for directions.

Policemen and members of the media outside Breach Candy Hospital where Govind Pansare passed away. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Policemen and members of the media outside Breach Candy Hospital where Govind Pansare passed away. Pics/Bipin Kokate

The assailants fired five times, and three of the bullets hit Pansare one passed through the thoracic region of the neck, another grazed his leg and the third hit him on his right shoulder and settled in his abdominal cavity. His wife suffered a head injury after the gunmen pushed her down before fleeing.

MP and NCP member Supriya Sule
MP and NCP member Supriya Sule

Republican Party of India president Ramdas Athawale
Republican Party of India president Ramdas Athawale

Pansare underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove the bullet from his body. On Thursday night, the octogenarian had trouble breathing due to the lung infection that arose as a post-surgical complication.

An air ambulance had been arranged from Nanavati Hospital and sent to Kolhapur airport, around 4.10 pm on Friday, Pansare was taken aboard by his daughter-in-law, Megha, along with his doctor Dr Ajay Kene and two nurses. Megha said, “We are still worried that the police have not yet zeroed down on the culprits.”

'Not like dabholkar murder'
While many were of the opinion that the shooting was reminiscent of the killing of anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, K L Bishoni, additional director general of police (law and order), said the cases were not alike.

“There are ample differences between the murder of Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Comrade Govind Pansare. The mere fact that both were on a morning walk cannot support the claim that they were both gunned down for the same cause or in similar cases. Both had distinct work cultures and causes. Our team is investigating the case.”

Assailant’s sketch prepared
Sources said police teams had been sent to Goa and Karnataka, as they are close to Kolhapur and easy escape routes. A sketch of the accused was also prepared with the help of descriptions by Uma, Pansare’s wife.

“We have prepared the sketch of the assailant based on the description given by Uma. She is undergoing treatment and we do not want to be a hindrance; after her approval, the sketch will be realised.

In the meantime, the Crime Branch and ATS officers have collected data from Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Mumbai and Pune-based arms dealers to know more about the weapon and ammunition dealings that took place in the last two years,” said a senior officer investigating the case.

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