The Communist Party of India on Wednesday sought a judicial inquiry into the killing of noted rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, alleging the crime must have been committed by right-wingers and obscurantists.

“He must have been killed by people belonging to right wing, by those who stand by obscurantism, medieval chauvinism.

His murder is a great disaster.

“I urge upon you to initiate a judicial inquiry into the event of his murder and punish the culprits who had been associated with it. It may not have been done by a single person,” CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Terming the murder as “a crime against humanity”, he said 69-year-old Dabholkar was fighting superstition and black magic and had opposed godmen, temple trusts and even the state government on several issues.

“He was vilified. Even his press conferences were disrupted. He was physically attacked. He was under threat to his life, but he never cared to take a police escort. He targeted the government and miracle cures and regressive religious practices,” Mr. Dasgupta said, adding that his movement was gaining ground.

“In a country where godmen and tantriks are lionised not only by the public but also by media and politicians, rationalists like him having a scientific bent of mind always face heavy odds,” he observed.

In a statement, CPI Central Secretariat condemned the murder of Dabholkar, who had given up medical profession for social work and had founded the ‘Andha Shraddha Nirmoolan Samithi’ that fought exploitation in the name of faith.

Noting that Dabholkar had dedicated his life to popularise scientific temper among the people, CPI said “rightist forces” had attacked and threatened him several times as “communalism and superstition are twin sisters”.

Seeking urgent steps to bring the culprits to book, the party extended support to the demand raised for long by Dabholkar and his followers for legislation against superstition and black magic and for developing scientific temper among the people.

CPI (M) has also condemned the killing of Dabholkar, describing him as a staunch anti-communal intellectual who led a growing movement against superstition.

Identify killers, says Digvijay

Condemning the killing of anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dabholkar, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Wednesday called for identifying the people behind the murder.

He also noted that the incident took place in an area, where bomb blasts had occurred earlier.

The name of some right-wing extremist organisations had surfaced in the 2010 Pune bomb blast.

Asked whether he was suggesting the hand of any right wing terror group behind it, Singh said, “Let the investigating agency do their job.”

“I strongly condemn the killing of Narendra Dabholkar fighting superstition. Police must identify the killers, also the people behind the killing,” Mr. Singh said on microblogging site Twitter.

Later talking to reporters, the AICC general secretary said there should be a thorough probe in the case as Dabhokar was fighting against superstition courageously.

He declined to go into “Whose hand is behind it and whose hand is not” but added “the incident has happened in an area, where bomb blasts have happened.”

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