Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar shot dead in Pune

PuneRenowned anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was pushing for a law against superstition and black magic, was shot dead this morning in Pune in Maharashtra. Dr Dabholkar was on his morning walk when he was shot dead near the Omkareshwar Bridge in the city by gunmen on a motorcycle. The police said four shots were fired at him at close range, two of which hit him in the back of his head.

The killing sparked anger and grief in his hometown Satara, 100 km from Pune. Large crowds gathered at his home and some took out a protest march. Many locals also kept their shops shut. 
Announcing Rs. 10 lakh for any information on the murder, the Maharashtra government called it a planned killing and slammed the police for failing to protect the senior activist. "The incident is a blot on the state police and the government," said Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

Dr Dabholkar's murder comes days after the Maharashtra government assured that it would introduce the anti-superstition Bill - opposed by many rightwing groups as "anti-Hindu." 
"The investigation has been handed over to the Pune crime branch," said Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil. "It is serious and I appeal to the people to keep calm."

A reputed rationalist known for his campaigns against superstition, Dr Dabholkar had for many years pushed for an anti-superstition Bill in the state assembly. He had also authored several books and was the editor of the "Sadhana" magazine devoted to progressive thought.


See also : 
"Remember Gandhi. Remember what we did to him": last threat Narayan Dabholkar received from right-wing organizations

Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti

Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism in India

Rationalist under threat of arrest for exposing the “miracle”

India's god laws fail the test of reason

India's new theocracy