Narendra Dabholkar murder: Two years on, mystery remains

Pune, Aug 20 (IANS) It has been exactly two years since rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead in this city and his killers continues to elude the law. In protest, several hundred activists, including his wife and two children, held a march here on Thursday morning.

Dabholkar, a medico-turned-campaigner against superstititions and black magic through his Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANS), was gunned down by unknown motorcycle-borne assailants near the VRS Bridge in the city while on a morning walk on August 20, 2013.

“It has been two years and investigators are yet to achieve a breakthrough. We have a single-point demand – nab his killers immediately,” said his daughter Mukta Dabholkar, who along with her brother Hamid are carrying forward their’s father’s legacy.

The protestors gathered at 7.55 a.m., at the exact spot and time when he was shot dead, and marched for around two kilometre, carrying placards, banners and raising slogans.

The Dabholkar siblings, along with their mother Shaila, led the march of rationalist-activists who wore black bands, before they staged a daylong protest here.

In attendance at the protest march was Sandip Shetty, brother of slain RTI activist Satish Shetty, slain Communist leader Govind Pansare’s daughter Smita and other prominent citizens and activists from across the state.

The protest march caps a yearlong campaign, including street plays, performed to highlight Dabholkar’s ideology, ‘aartis’ and marches all over Maharashtra.

“It is a shame that the government has failed to nab the assailants even two years after the murder,” Hamid told mediapersons.

Earlier, he accused the state government of “trying to hide something” since all evidences have been handed over, but so far there has been no breakthrough.

For nearly a year, the Maharashtra Police tried to crack the case, but without success. The case was then handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in May 2014.

In May 2015, the CBI released the sketches of two suspects in the killing but no further progress has been made ever since.

The CBI has pleaded staff shortage and sought additional officers but the request is yet to be cleared by the state government.

In the past two years, the Maharashtra Police questioned nearly a 1,000 people, including ‘tantriks’, godmen and black magicians against whom Dabholkar campaigned vigorously all his life.

Dabholkar’s killing prompted the state government to enact the revolutionary ‘Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices, and Black Magic Act, 2013, but it is popular as the anti-superstitions and black magic law.

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