FOUR years after the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, the family of the slain activist on Saturday said it was still waiting for justice and wondering whether it will ever get justice. The family’s disbelief stems from the fact that the Maharashtra government, led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has “neither taken any drastic step nor shown any intention” to act tough against certain organisations which are “brazenly” targeting intellectuals and crusaders. Incidentally, former CM Prithviraj Chavan also made the same demand on Saturday, urging the state government and the CM to declare their intention vis-a-vis certain “dangerous organisations”.
A day before the anti-superstition activists across the country observe the fourth death anniversary — Dabholkar was killed on August 20, 2013 — of the rationalist by intensifying their “Jawab Do” agitation, Hamid Dabholkar, son of the activist, said: “We want to know the stand of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on organisations like the Sanatan Sanstha and the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS)? We want to know whether the CM and his government intend to ban organisations which are brazenly targeting intellectuals and crusaders for speaking out against wrong tendencies…,” he said.
Hamid said that the CM, other than speaking one line after his father’s murder, has preferred to remain silent. “And that’s why we are not sure what the government plans to do with such organisations. Will it allow them to operate as they are doing now or does the government have a plan to stop them in their tracks? The people of Maharashtra want to know the government’s intention. For too long, the government has maintained a silence on a very serious issue…we want to know why?” he asked.
On Saturday, the Maharashtra Congress also joined the Dabholkar family to once again raise the same demand. “We, too, have been demanding that the CM Devendra Fadnavis and his government should declare their intention about dangerous organisations operating in Maharashtra. In fact, I had raised this demand on the floor of the state Assembly, and also sought information under RTI to know the government’s move, if any, about such organisations. So far, they have drawn a blank. The CM and his government are refusing to break their silence,” said former CM Prithviraj Chavan.
Chavan reiterated that when he was the CM, his government had sent a 1,000-page dossier on banning organisations like Sanatan Sanstha. “Our officials had submitted a dossier to the me, expressing the pressing need to ban organisations like the Sanatan Sanstha. Our officials had told us that there were allegations that the organisation was involved in illegal and dangerous activities,” he alleged.
Chavan said the CM should at least tell the people whether his government was pursuing the issue of banning the organisation or has closed the file or whether the file was pending with the Union Government. “The state government has been mum so far. Despite the issue being such a serious one, the government does not seem to be serious and seems to be taking it lightly,” he said. Chavan said that his government had sent the dossier before the Sanatan Sanstha came under a cloud after the murder of two rationalists. “Which means there was pressing need to act more tough against the organisation,” he said. The Chief Minister’s Office said: “The CM has already clarified that no organisation will be banned just because someone is demanding… and no organisation will be spared if sufficient proofs are available to initiate action.”
Chavan said his government had provided additional proof after the Union Home Ministry demanded it. “After we sent the dossier, the Home Ministry had demanded additional proof and we had provided it,” he said. Sanatan Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak said Sanatan was a spiritual organisation and all allegations against it are baseless.