Hazare told to campaign for Egypt-styled military rule

Within ten days of the brutal murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar here, anonymous threat letters were sent to members of his organisation as well as activist Anna Hazare.

The letter sent to the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) demanded that the anti-superstition movement be stopped. Mr. Hazare’s called for establishing a military rule in the country. Both letters, though, warned of the same threat in the event the demands were ignored: that the recipients would the same fate as Dr. Dabholkar.

“Beware, people working in the anti-superstition movement. If people’s sentiments are hurt, you will also meet the same fate as Dabholkar,” the letter to MANS said. Refusing to be bowed down by the threat, MANS activist Milind Deshmukh stated that criticism was not new for the movement. “We will not be scared by such threats. This is not the first time that we have received letters like this. If people who killed Dr. Dabholkar think that we are weak now, they are wrong. Our determination to root out ignorance and fraud has only become stronger,” Mr. Deshmukh said.

The Pune police, though, have been unable to trace the letter which was sent to the Sadhana media centre, a magazine which Dr. Dabholkar edited, on Thursday. “We are in the process of investigating the possible people who might have sent the letter,” Assistant commissioner of police (crime) Rajendra Bhamare, who is the investigating officer told The Hindu.

The letter addressed to Mr. Hazare was sent to his village Ralegan Siddhi on Thursday. Stating that the problems of the country would not be solved until there was a military revolution as took place in Egypt, the letter urged Mr. Hazare to call for a military rule. “If you refuse to do so, you will be the next Dabholkar,” the letter said. “Otherwise, politicians will not pass the Lokpal Bill even after your death,” it said.

Mr. Hazare was not available for comment. The letter was handed over to Ahmednagar SP Raosaheb Shinde on Saturday. “We have started investigations into the source of the letter [going by] the way it is written and the contents,” Mr. Shinde said.

Incidentally, Mr. Hazare’s lawyer, Milind Pawar, sought on Friday that the Home Ministry provide the activist with Z-plus security. “After Dr. Dabholkar’s murder, I deemed it fit to ask the State government to increase Anna’s security from Z- to Z-plus,” Mr. Pawar told The Hindu. “The threat letter only makes it clear that people like Anna are not safe, and it is the state’s duty to protect them.”

The police’s inability to nab Dr. Dabholkar’s killers has given rise to a cynical attitude among Punekars. “It has been ten days since a prominent personality was murdered in daylight, and the police say they are still clueless. How is the common man supposed to feel safe?” RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar said.