A Rs 5 lakh reward for information leading to the arrest of the killers of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi was announced by the Karnataka government on Tuesday.
The scholar was shot dead at his home in the Dharwad town in north Karnataka by two unidentified persons who came on a motorcycle and knocked on his door on August 30. The Criminal Investigation Department of the state police are investigating the case but are yet to find any strong leads.
The Rs 5 lakh reward was announced by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after a delegation of rationalists and writers including family members of rationalists Narendra Dhabolkar and Govinda Pansare, called on the chief minister and sought his intervention in speeding up investigations in the case. Kalburgi’s son Srivijaya was also present at the meeting at the chief minister’s official residence on Tuesday evening.
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Siddaramaiah said that the delegation demanded the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to crack the Kalburgi murder case. He, however, turned down the request stating that the CID is on the job to solve the case. Among the delegation that had a two-hour closed door meeting with Siddaramaiah were Jnanapith awardees Chandrashekar Kambara and Girish Karnad, renowned Kannada writers Baraguru Ramachandrappa, Chandrashekar Patil (Champa), Siddalingaiah, Marulasiddappa and rationalist Narendra Nayak were also present in the meeting.
Dhabolkar’s daughter Mukta Dabolkar, Pansare’s daughter-in-law Dr Megha Pansare were a part of the meeting. A representative of the Forum of Progressive Pontiffs who was among those who met Siddaramaiah said that the delegation had demanded a speedy and fair investigation into the Kalburgi murder. Veerabhadra Channamalla Mahaswamy, head of the Nidumamidi Mutt said that the delegation had demanded the establishment of a research institute and a state award in the name of Kalburgi. “We also demanded a ban on organizations that are a danger to the society through activities that disturb the peace and harmony and the introduction of an anti-superstition bill in the state,” Channamalla Mahaswamy said.