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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightAre Dabholkar's...

Are Dabholkar's killers safe?

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Are Dabholkars killers safe?
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Pune Additional Sessions Judge P.P. Yadav's judgment 11 years after the murder of Narendra

, atheist and founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, is a source of relief and of concern at the same time. It is disquieting to see that the conspiracy behind the act has not been established even after 11 years it took for the probe to complete after the CBI took over the case and filed the chargesheet against the culprits after thorough probe. At the same time, it is quite consoling to see the convicted in the case Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar were handed life term and slapped a fine of five lakh rupees. The three other accused, ENT surgeon Dr.Virendrasinh Tawade, Mumbai-based lawyer Sanjiv Punalekar and Vikram Bhave, were acquitted for lack of evidence. The saddest part is that neither the Maharashtra Police, who initially investigated the case, nor the CBI that took over the case later could prove the fact the Sanatan Sanstha, an extremist Hindutva organization led by those mentioned above, had planned the brutal murder as was reliably pointed out. The trial court itself has emphatically pointed out this lapse.

Despite clear indications that the Sanatan Sanstha was behind the murders of CPI leader and progressive Govind Pansare in February 2015, writer Kalburgi on August 30, and journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017 in similar circumstances, the investigating agencies have not been able to prove it before the court, giving rise to various doubts. Dabholkar family’s decision to appeal the trial court verdict gives the hope that the truth will eventually come out albeit delayed. Even as Dabholkar’s murder sparked public outrage, the fact that the government was forced only days later to bring in an Act to abolish superstitions was a good sign. Later the Karnataka government also followed suit after Kalburgi’s murder. The states of Assam, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have also brought in laws against the horrendous practice. Meanwhile, the so called progressive left-wing government in Kerala, despite announcing it would implement a similar law, has not yet done anything even after horrendous incidents like human sacrifice shocked the society. The government is unwilling to enact the law as it is not possible to exactly define true belief from superstition alongside the fears that some sections of the people will oppose whatever law is introduced. It is true that a universally acceptable definition cannot be formed for superstition or evil rituals.

However, there are certain indisputable truths which any thinking person might admit, which the constitution of the country acknowledges. Who can deny the fact that any misdeed that harms human life, property or honor is punishable and cannot be overlooked? All practices leading to it should be prima facie criminalized by law. Alongside, all practices disrespectful to women and pave the way for sexual exploitation cannot be accepted in any sense. Any group acting against human dignity, no matter based on whatever religious beliefs or creed, should be banned. The State should ensure protection to individuals and groups that democratically fight against superstitions, creating awareness. Unfortunately, the extreme right-wing forces in power for the past decade have adopted a stance of protecting distorted beliefs and atrocities arising from them. Those who should have stood up against it are keeping silent owing to cowardice or fearing loss of votes or money. If those who adore Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi as brave souls are not hypocrites, they must prove it in action.

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TAGS:Life sentence#EditorialDabholkar MurderPune Additional Sessions Judge
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