Pune: A massive manhunt has been launched to trace and arrest the two alleged killers of prominent anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in Pune. Police officials say the two assailants came on a motorcycle and shot dead Dhabolkar who was on a morning walk near the Omkareshwar temple in Pune.
Pune Police is now waiting for the forensic report to decide what kind of pistol was used to fire the four shots and have released a sketch of one of the suspects with the Mumbai Police providing technical assistance in cracking the case that has sent shockwaves across Maharashtra.
Meanhwhile, there has been lukewarm response so far to the day-long bandh called by all political parties to protest against Dhabolkar’s killing.
Dabholkar was at the forefront of a campaign to persuade the Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill. He founded the “Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti” (anti-superstition movement) to change social mindset and inculcate scientific temper in 1989 after starting work against widespread superstition in 1983.
He had written many books on superstition eradication and confronted tantriks who promised miracles and was the editor of Marathi weekly ‘Sadhana’.
Rationalists and politicians have come out strongly against Dr Dabholkar’s murder, once again, bringing out how activists feel unsafe in the country. Indian Rationalist Association President Sanal Edamaruku said, “We rationalists struggle like this every day, but we should not be put down by such things. Instead we should see this as an inspiration to push harder for our beliefs.”
NCP leader Jitendra Awhad said the murder of Dr Dabholkar was a let down. “It’s a sad day for Mumbai, let down by a few individuals who should have fought ideology with ideology. Probably, the Nathuram Godse (Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin) mentality, which has lingered, is responsible for this killing.”