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Arrest must act as catalyst for rationalists

After months of speculation, waiting and protests demanding faster action, the Pune police have claimed that they have made a breakthrough in the murder of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, who was shot dead in Pune several months ago. The anti-superstition campaigner was gunned down at Omkareshwar Bridge in Shaniwar Peth in Pune on August 20.

On Monday evening, cops arrested illegal arms dealer Rajubhai alias Manish Ramvilas Nagori (24) and his associate Vikas Ramavatar Khandelwal (22), in connection with the murder. The police believe that Nagori provided the weapons to the killers who gunned down Dabholkar.

While the breakthrough underlines the importance of patience in any murder investigation, one could also empathise with the family and supporters of Dabholkar, who staged numerous protests and urged for faster action.

What is important though is that this should give greater fillip to the rationalist cause. His supporters must now go after those who spread superstition and falsehood with more aggression.

Even now, we see charlatans who are taking in people who may be at their most vulnerable at a specific juncture in their life, and are in need of emotional solace or reassurance. Individuals who are taken in by false beliefs, bogus claims, superstitions and simple, plain con speak and con experiments are left embittered and frustrated, besides being disillusioned. After all, it is individuals who make up society, and to have a section who actually feel deeply humiliated and let down creates general disturbance and dissatisfaction.

The problem is that despite proof and evidence, those who have all kinds of dubious cures, miracles and solutions for myriad problems continue to take in people. They have good speaking skills, have formed a solid follower base through the years, and man inherently will look for hope, and a way out of turmoil. When at a low ebb, people will cling on desperately to anything that is told to them.

With the police arresting two persons, one hopes this triggers off a sequence of events that leads to the case being completely solved. Meanwhile, this arrest must act as a catalyst for the rationalist movement, which should gain greater impetus now.

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