Activist Mahesh Shetty Thimarody has demanded that the State government should order a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the 462 unnatural deaths that have occurred in Dharmasthala in the last 10 years.

Addressing a public meeting in Mangalore on Saturday, Mr. Thimarody said the rape and murder of the 17-year-old girl and the unnatural deaths should be investigated by the CBI under the supervision of the Supreme Court. “A mere investigation by the CBI does not help. The CBI is not better than the CID (Criminal Investigation Department that has investigated the rape and murder case).”

Mr. Thimarody said there had been a lot of tampering of evidence in the rape and murder case. “Even the accused who has been arrested now can be acquitted,” he said. Mr. Thimarody, who heads the Prajaprabhutva Vedike that is spearheading demonstrations demanding a fair inquiry, said their organisation will continue to fight, even violently if required, to secure justice for the rape and murder victim. There should also be an investigation into the alleged land grabbing in Dharmasthala, he said.

Communist Party of India activist M.K. Devanand spoke about the trauma he had gone through after the finding body of his 17-year-old daughter Padmalatha, who was raped and murdered in February 1987.

Retired government doctor Buddappa Revanappa Harale said his wife Vedavalli Harale died of burns allegedly caused by “powerful” persons in 1979. “I have so far not been given the copy of the post mortem report. You cannot expect the police to investigate in a fair manner,” he said.

Activist Vishnumurthy said there was not much support for them for demonstrations done following the death of Vedavalli Harale and Padmalatha. He said a false case of harassing a Dalit woman was foisted against him following Padmalatha murder. Esha Vithaladasa Swami said people should come forward to support the fight for justice for the 17-year-old rape and murder victim, whose body was found in Dharmasthala last year.

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