10 years and masterminds behind Narendra Dabholkar’s murder not arrested, says daughter

On August 20, 2013, anti-superstition crusader Dabholkar was shot dead while he was out on a morning walk

August 20, 2023 09:43 am | Updated 04:06 pm IST - Mumbai

Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti member shows a portrait of Narendra Dabholkar during a ‘Nirbhay’ rally on his 10th death anniversary, in Mumbai on August 19, 2023.

Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti member shows a portrait of Narendra Dabholkar during a ‘Nirbhay’ rally on his 10th death anniversary, in Mumbai on August 19, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

“It has been 10 years and the masterminds in the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar have still not been arrested”, said daughter Mukta.

On August 20, 2013, the 67-year-old founder of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), anti-superstition crusader Dabholkar was shot dead while he was out on a morning walk in Pune. He was to address a press conference later in the day to advocate for an eco-friendly Ganesh festival.

“It has been 10 years and the masterminds have still not been arrested, but I am hoping for a speedy trial,” said Mukta Dabholkar. She and her brother Dr. Hamid recently moved the Supreme Court against the order passed by the Bombay High Court of discontinuing monitoring the probe. The High Court in April had said, “The investigation of the present crime has already been completed and the trial of it is steadily progressing. This court is of the view that further monitoring on the investigation of the present crime is not necessary.”

Interestingly, on February 7 this year, the counsel appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the case told the Bombay High Court, “The trial into could be concluded in two months if expedited as there are only eight witnesses remaining.” However, advocate Prakash Survayanshi public prosecutor in the case, said “The court is examining 20th witness in the case and I have still not decided how many witnesses I want to examine. There has been a delay in the trial as the judge presiding over was transferred.”

The trial is going against alleged members of a Hindu extremist group in India, Sanathan Sanstha. Ear, and Nose surgeon Dr. Virendrasinh Tawade, alleged assailants Sachin Andhure and Sharad Kalaskar, Mumbai-based criminal lawyer Sanjeev Punalekar and his aide Vikram Bhure. While Mr. Punalekar and Mr. Bhave are out on bail, Mr. Tawade, Mr. Kalaskar and Mr. Andhure are lodged at Yerwada Central Jail.

Dr. Hamid Dabholkar said after his father’s death, his work has increased and more people have joined the cause. He said, “The reason for which Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was murdered is not only surviving but also flourishing as there are more people are joining his organization MANS and spreading his work. The work has not stopped despite the situation across the country becoming even more challenging to carry out his work. That is important to me. Though on one side, the masterminds of the plot are not caught, I think it’s in a way testimony that if we continue to follow the path of the Constitution of India, though it is slow, we can achieve the goals in the long run.”

On August 20, MANS will be distributing books on Dabholkar across the state. There will be a discussion on the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act at ILS Law College, Pune and also a rally in the memory of Dabholkar.

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