Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare paid for their voices of dissent with their lives; mid-day spoke to their families after the murder of rationalist and scholar M M Kalburgi, yesterday
Famous Kannada writer and former vice-chancellor of Kannada University M M Kalburgi was shot dead in his residence at Dharwad, Karnataka, on Sunday morning by unidentified assailants. The modus operandi was similar to that used by the killers of Dr Narendra Dabh-olkar, who was shot dead on August 20, 2013. On February 16, CPI leader comrade Govind Pansare and his wife were gunned down in Kolhapur; he succumbed to his injuries in Mumbai on February 20, 2015.
M M Kalburgi (above) was shot dead at his residence in Dharwad, Karnataka. Youth Congress members protest his killing in Bangalore. PICS/PTI
This is how the families of Dabholkar and Pansare reacted to Kalburgi’s murder:
Dr Hamid Dabholkar, son of Dr Narendra Dabholkar, said, “An unfortunate incident has taken place. Yet another rational thinking person has been gunned down. This incident has once again raised eyebrows, that people want to curb the voice of rational and progressive thinkers. This is against democracy as assailants are targeting people who are raising a voice for progressive thinking.’’
He added, “It’s has been two years now, the killers of my father are running free and targeting similar like-minded progressive people like my father was. I am worried that they are targeting innocent people, they are using violent means to gun down these voices. They want to gun down the voices that raise questions for betterment.’’
A similar sentiment has been raised by Megha, daughter-in-law of Govind Pansare, “We have realised that police are dancing to the tune of the government administration. It’s almost six months that Comrade Pansare’s killers are roaming free in society and targeting other people who have progressive thou-ght. Comrade Pansare was killed due to his progressive thought.
The killers are targeting the assets of progressive thinkers, especially all senior citizens who are on their radar. It seems their voice has been alarming society and reaching the masses, so they are killing such innocent people.’’
She added, ‘’It’s not the police to be blamed alone, but also the state government which sanctioned reduced police manpower to curb these crimes. This advantage has been taken by assailants, and they are again encouraged to soft-target such people. Despite the state government having declared awards to those who part with information about the cases of Comrade Pansare and Dr Dabholkar, the cases have not been solved. If you see the strategy of the killers and the modus operandi they used in Pune to kill Dr Dabholkar, then Kolhapur (Pansare) and now Karnataka, in all three cases, the victims had gone on their morning walk and it was a public holiday. Our Maharashtra police are also probing the Karnataka link. All police including the Karnataka police must come together and probe the case so that the killers are caught soon and the innocent people who are still on their target will be safe.”