DEMANDING quick justice and a faster probe into the murders of rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar and communist leader Govind Pansare, members of various grass root organisations and progressive organisations will embark on a 239-kilometre march from Pune to Kohlapur from November 21-24.
Bharat Patankar, leader of the Shramik Mukti Dal, who has been provided police protection recently due to perceived threats to his life, said the march would see more than 10,000 people joining in from various parts of the state.
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More than two years have passed since Dr Dabholkar was shot dead in broad day light in Pune and it is going to be a year since Pansare was shot dead outside his home in Kolhapur. The CBI, which has been investigating the murder of Dabholkar, has recently submitted the names of the two alleged suspects in a sealed envelope to the Bombay High Court and the special investigating team (SIT), constituted by the state government, looking into the murder of Pansare has arrested Samir Gaikwad, member of Sanathan Sanstha, a right wing organisation, for his alleged role in the case.
Patankar, who has been active since many years with various grass root level organisations, said that the march would be undertaken across Western Maharashtra to put pressure on the authorities to speed up the investigations. “Since the beginning we have asked the investigating agencies to focus on the right wing organisations like Sanathan Sanstha, but they had not looked into it. We had taken out a massive march in Mumbai this year in April and had followed it up with a similar march to the residence of the chief minister in Nagpur. Within days of the march, the police had made the arrest,” he said. Patankar said, they hoped this march would put pressure on the government to speed up the investigation process.
The march would start from Pune on November 21 from the same place where Dr Dabholkar was shot dead. Before culminating at Kolhapur on November 24, the march would make its ways through Sangli, Satara, stopping at various places for public meeting. “Villagers will provide lunch to the people taking part in the march. We expect more than 10,000 people to join us,” he said. Various left parties and progressive organisations owing allegiance to Ambedkar ideology will be joining the march. Also, family members of Dr Dabholkar and his Anti Superstition Movement would be joining us, said Patankar.
Patankar has been accorded police protection following the perceived threats to his life. Other than threatening letters, Patankar said that a meeting which was held in Mumbai to plan the march was attended by a person who is closely associated with a publication of the Right wing organisations. “It was an internal meeting and yet the correspondent sat through it. We had informed the Sangli police and informed them about the letters I received. After this, the police has extended protection to me,” he said,.