Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Govind Pansare consigned to flames, his voice echoes in supporters

The social activist and veteran Communist leader is no more. But his voice will live on. His supporters are ensuring that it will. They had launched a fast-unto-death after Govind Pansare and his wife were shot at when they were returning from their routine morning walk in Kolhapur. In Pune, supporters of Pansare and his views started the fast in protest against the attack. The leader passed away in Mumbai on Friday and his mortal remains were consigned to flames on Saturday in Kolhapur.
There is anger among the activists. They have resolved to continue their agitation until the state government “wakes up and acts decisively against the killers”. Harshal Lohakare, Ashwini Satav Doke, Rajan Dhandekar and Hanumant Pawar started their fast on Monday, seeking immediate arrest of the killers of Pansare.
On Saturday afternoon, blood tests on the activists showed a fall in blood sugar. They were advised by doctors to get admitted to hospital. The activists refused to comply. “We are here to ensure our voice is heard, and to raise awareness on issues,” said Satav Doke. Other than their belief on freedom of speech, the activists have a background of either journalism or social work.
Unidentified men had opened fire on Pansare and his wife Uma on Monday morning when they were returning from their morning walk in Kolhapur. Pansare who was shifted to Mumbai breathed his last on Friday and was cremated in Kolhapur on Saturday.
Since Monday, the four activists are on a fast-unto-death meters from the spot where anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar was gunned down a year-and-a-half ago.
“The attack on Pansare as well as Dr Narendra Dabholkar was not just an attack on individuals but an attack on freedom of speech, which is a constitutional right. Pansare’s assassination is an effort to silence free speech and signals the rise of right wing elements in our state,” said Satav Doke.
The main demand for activists is that the government should accelerate ongoing investigations into both incidents as well as make public the progress made in investigations so far. They also want the government to take action against masterminds of the attacks. “Post the murder of Dabholkar, CM Devendra Fadnavis had asked for resignation of the then government. Even five days after the attack on Pansare, police have failed to find any substantial lead… so Fadnavis who is the Chief Minister should now resign,” they argued.
Pansare’s fight, activists, said was against development at the cost of human rights. “We will continue his fight for rights for people and against that kind of development wherein only few benefit,” they said.
While District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat visited them, the activist said they are yet to hear officially from the government. “Some leaders from opposition parties had come to express their solidarity with us and we told them the state lacks an opposition in the real sense,” they said.
Communist leader Kiran Moghe on her part pointed out that the murder of Pansare was a direct attack on values and ideology that works for the common man and the oppressed. “Throughout his life, Pansare worked for consolidation of workers and the marginalized. His attempts to give a voice to voiceless have to be the main reasons for his assassination. This cold blooded murder is an attempt to silence voices that work against the established class order,” she said.
see also
Was Dhabolkar ally and rationalist leader Pansare shot by communal elements?
The Abolition of truth

Mr PM, We Could Have Saved Govind Pansare
Months after the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013, Pansare received a threat letter stating "Tumcha Dabholkar Karu", which translated that he could also be killed like Dabholkar.
The Non-politics of the RSS
How power trumps justice // Very short list of examples of rule of law in India