The family of slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar said on Saturday that it has been trying to seek an audience with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for one year, but the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) kept the request on hold. “We have approached the PMO at least thrice through letter, mail and personal visit, but have been unsuccessful in getting an audience with the PM,” said Hamid Dabholkar, son of the anti-superstition crusader.
The family is seeking to push the investigation into the murder case and also wants to know what the Centre is doing regarding imposing a ban on Sanathan Sanstha, the right wing Hindu outfit accused of murdering Dabholkar.
The Dabholkar family, which has decided to send another request to the Prime Minister next week, said that they had once sent an email to the PMO and personally visited the PMO at Sansad Bhavan twice to hand over a letter requesting a meeting with the Prime Minister.
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The family said that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had assured them that he would arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister, but that too has not materialised. “We had met the CM twice personally and had written at least five letters requesting him to use his good office for arranging a meeting with the Prime Minister, but the CM too has failed to do anything,” Hamid said.
When contacted on Friday, a PMO official said that he would find out the status of the request and accordingly inform the family. Similarly, the Chief Minister’s Office also said that it is looking into the request. Hamid said that the purpose behind the meeting with the Prime Minister is to convey to him the tardy pace of investigation in the murder case as well as the 2009 Margoa blast case.
“In the recent arrest of Virendra Tawade by the CBI, it has now clearly emerged that Sarang Akolkar, who was involved in the Margoa blast, has a hand in my father’s murder. There were four absconders in the Margoa blast and all of them have been linked with the murder of three rationalists-my father, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi. The modus operandi seems to be similar,” Hamid said.
Dabholkar was gunned down in Pune on August 20, 2013. Hamid said that had the NIA, which had been investigating the Margoa blast, acted speedily, the murders of the three rationalists would not have taken place.
“Similarly, the CBI has taken months to achieve a breakthrough in the case. It has come to light that the witness from Kolhapur was trying to reveal what he knew to the police and investigating agencies, but nobody was ready to listen to him,” Hamid said, adding that they wanted to highlight the way the NIA and CBI are investigating his father’s murder case.
“It is important that these issues are taken up with the PM…we are sure that he would use his good office to speed up investigations and send out a strong message,” Hamid said, adding that another important point that they intend to take up with the Prime Minister is the imposition of a ban on Sanatan Sanstha.
“In 2011, the Maharashtra government had recommended to the Centre to impose a ban on the right wing outfit. The Centre has been mum on the issue. We want to know the Centre’s stand,” Hamid further said. The family said that it has not criticised the PM in the past and doesn’t intend to do so either, but it has not been able to understand the silence maintained by the Centre.
“One outfit has been linked to the murders of three rationalists. The outfit has been openly threatening the voice of reason and even government officials. Yet, we have no clue what the government intends to do. It is showing no sense of urgency,” Hamid said.
Meanwhile, the Sanatan Sanstha has alleged that the CBI had “set up a bogus witness from Kolhapur”. In a release, Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak said, “The effort to implicate an innocent person on the basis of false allegations puts a question mark on the credibility of CBI and brings disrepute to the BJP government.”