How long will Kalburgis, Dabholkars, Pansares of India be threatened for speaking against religion?

On 30 Aug 2015, M.M. Kalburgi, a renowned Kannada writer, research scholar and rationalist was shot dead by 2 gunmen at his residence. Kalburgi, served as the vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi had drawn annoyance of Hindu extremist groups for denouncing superstition and idol worship in the past.

After preliminary investigations, police has stated a possibility of property dispute within his family circle as a reason of his murder; however, they have also not denied the alleged involvement of right-wing fringe elements.

Interestingly, social media was quick to conclude that Hindutva Terrorists are involved in it. The conclusion was primarily drawn from a tweet of a Bajrang Dal activist who tweeted some spiteful tweets and later deleted it.

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Bhuvith Shetty

The unfortunate event was very soon given a political color by the left-wing intelligentsia, senior leaders took no time to convert this into a BJP related news.

Surprisingly, many political and learned individuals, who jumped to conclude the involvement of fringe groups, didn’t even bother to acknowledge that U. R. Ananthamurthy died a natural death from renal failure and cardiac arrest on 22 August 2014, and was not killed by any fanatics.  Ramesh Kulkarni, a VHP state secretary, denied any role of rightwing groups and also said, “We condemn this killing, I guarantee you that no rightwing organization is involved in the killing. We train to protest, not to kill.”

Nevertheless, the involvement of extremist groups in society can’t be undermined. Kalburgi had been receiving threats from the fringe elements in the past. He was provided protection for 8 months, but he recently opted to remove special protection for him. He was not the first victim of social threats; before him, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare had been shot dead by some Hindu extremists organizations. A similar celebration was also seen among CPM followers for the death of RSS leader from Kerala.

The Bajrang Dal leader Bhuvith Shetty, who tweeted in celebration on the death of Kalburgi, was arrested by police on 31 August 2015. The CM of Karnataka has also assured that “Whoever is behind this, we will catch them and punish according to law”. Hope justice is served soon.

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