Thursday, September 3, 2015

After Professor Kalburgi Murder, Exhibit A is Police Inertia

NB - The Hindutva fanatics have murdered three venerable gentlemen in a row: Dhabolkar, Pansare and Kalburgi. Some learned opinion makers who work ceaselessly to denigrate the entire moderate tradition in Indian politics and history, become deaf and dumb when it comes to outright murder. They demand more and more freedom for corporates to avoid labour laws and environmental regulations, but are least bothered about the right of Indian citizens to remain alive, and to be protected from intimidation by hooligans. Goondas and criminals are now more free to indulge their pursuits (including murder), than the rest of us. The fact that this police ineptitude is happening under a Congress ministry shows that communal bias functions as an ideological influence over the administration and police that can override partisan affiliations. 

When we look the other way when all this takes place, we contribute to the ongoing criminalisation of the Indian polity. As for the withering away of state authority and the impunity available to fanatics to do what they please, we have only to look across the border, to our estranged fellow South Asians, to get a glimpse of where we are headed: Khaled Ahmed - Pakistan: Rule of violence DS

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in a show of respect, was present at Monday's funeral of one of Karnataka's most eminent scholars, Professor MM Kalburgi; the politician promised swift, fearless action against those who shot and killed the 77-year-old at his home in Dharwad on Sunday.

But three days later, doubts remain over the sincerity of that claim. It has taken more than 72 hours for the police to release sketches of the two suspected killers of Professor Kalburgi, despite the police claiming that the scholar's wife came face-to-face with the shooter just moments before he pulled the trigger. 
Another standard policing measure too seems absent - to question those who led protests against Professor Kalburgi last year when his comments critiquing idol worship and other religious beliefs enraged some right-wing Hindu groups and sections of his own community, the Lingayats. The protests appeared so menacing that they led to the professor being  given security by the police.

Those protests, spearheaded by the local wing of the BJP and a host of Hindutva outfits are at odd with their posthumous respect for Professor Kalburgi. In a June 2014 video, BJP protesters in Bangalore are seen and heard calling Professor Kalburgi anti-national,  anti-Hindu, and a liar. They repeatedly ask for his arrest. Placards at the meeting ask for him to be thrown out of the country. A separate image shows BJP protestors even staging mock shradhh (post-death rituals) for Professor Kalburgi. There were similar demonstrations in Dharwad.

A BJP leader seen in the Dharwad protests, Mohan Ramadurg, said that the police have not sought information from his colleagues or him. The police when asked about the sense of inertia on multiple fronts say they are busy with other duties. Most senior officers supervising the investigation have been enlisted for managing farmers' protests in Dharwad and Hubli over a water dispute. But Roshan Baig, Information Minister in the Congress government, claims there is no go-slow, and that the investigation is being monitored very closely. On Tuesday afternoon, the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department took over the Kalburgi investigation from the local police.

see also
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

Voice of rationality silenced by two bullets, shot point-blank

The Broken Middle - my essay on the 30th anniversary of 1984
The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: Inquiry Commission Report (1969)
The Abolition of truth
RSS tradition of manufacturing facts to suit their ideology
Communist Party of India's Homage to Gandhiji October 2, 1947 // Communist Party's Appeal to the People of Pakistan August 15, 1947
V.D. Savarkar and Gandhi’s murder
Madhu Limaye's (senior socialist leader) observations on the RSS (1979)

A Hard Rain Falling (on private armies and political violence in India) (EPW, July 2012)