EVEN AS the family of slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar has been awaiting an audience with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for over a fortnight, son Hamid Dabholkar urged the Karnataka Police on Sunday to take custody of Virendra Tawde and unravel the mystery behind the killing of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.
Tawde, a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, was first arrested in connection with the Dabholkar murder case in June 2016 and charged with the murder of another crusader Govind Pansare. Tawde’s arrest was the first by the CBI, since it took over the probe in May 2014 on the directions of the Bombay High Court.
Dabholkar claimed that since forensic probe by the Karnataka Police has revealed that the same gun was used in the unsolved murders of M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, the Karnataka Police should take custody of Virendra Tawde and question him. He can provide vital clues about the killers of Gauri Lankesh, he added.
“As per the media reports, forensic investigations of the cartridges and bullets recovered from the unsolved murders of the three rationalists has revealed that the 7.65 mm pistol used to kill Kalburgi in 2015 was the same gun that was used to murder Govind Pansare. The probe has also apparently revealed that one of two guns used to shoot Pansare was used to kill Dabholkar in 2013,” said Dabholkar.
The Bengaluru Police are likely to seek forensic analysis of the bullet fragments and cartridges recovered from the crime scene of the murder of Lankesh, for comparison with similar material found in the killings of the three rationalists to confirm/rule out the involvement of a common group.
Dabholkar said the gun used and the modus operandi of the killers clearly pointed out the involvement of radical outfits. “The pattern is similar in the killings of the three rationalists and the journalist,” he added.
Emphasising that they have been pressing for decisive action against radical outfits who are “out to kill intellectuals and crusaders”, Dabholkar said, “We have been saying that the state and the Centre need to act tough against radical outfits who are openly threatening and killing intellectuals and crusaders. But the governments have remained passive, not revealing as to what they plan to do with certain dangerous organisations.”
He added that they had already expressed fears about similar attacks on intellectuals. “The possibility of more attacks on those who differ with the views of radical outfits cannot be ruled out. And, therefore, it is important that the central as well as the state government should act and not remain silent spectators,” said Dabholkar.
He added that they had sought an audience with Chief Minister a fortnight ago. “We want to know the stand of the Chief Minister and the state government about the right wing organisation whose involvement in murder of the rationalists have been confirmed by the CBI. But the CM’s office is yet to give us time to take up the matter with him,” he said. Meanwhile, Sanatan Sanstha has already denied its involvement with any of the murders.
Last month, the Chief Minister’s Office had told The Indian Express: “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.”