Home Minister R R Patil is known to be the most trusted man of his party chief Sharad Pawar, who himself is an atheist, keeps away from religious rituals and claims to be free of superstition.
And yet, his government has done little to safeguard the interests of those who risk their lives to speak out against superstition and injustice in society. On several occasions, religious bigots threatened Dabholkar. While it is true that the brave man refused police protection, the intelligence department had a responsibility to at least keep tabs on potential threats.
The government should be taken to task for turning a blind eye to the fact that they have to offer special protection to activists and whistle blowers. Ideally, the Opposition should shoulder the task of keeping the government on its toes. On this count, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine has failed miserably. The Opposition is now more of a technicality, than a viable alternative to the existing government.
The Democratic Front government must also come clean on whether it really wants to pass the anti-superstition bill, and save its citizens from falling prey to the tantriks and mantriks. Significantly, the draft of the bill has been discussed at length and approved on five occasions in the state cabinet meetings.
Why are we still waiting?