It is an irony that the house Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi’s son Srivijaya considered safest for his father turned out to be the place where he would breathe his last. “I was scared for him; people posted angry comments against him on social media when he commented about urination on idols. I sent him to Hubli from Bengaluru on a flight and obtained minute-by-minute update on his well-being until he reached the safety of our Dharwad home,” Srivijaya said Tuesday.
The Kannada Vachana Sahitya researcher, who was shot dead in his Dharwad house by an unidentified gunman Sunday, had faced several threats over comments he made regarding urination on idols nearly 18 months ago. But his son said Kalburgi hadn’t been threatened in recent days.
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Srivijaya, 42, who works in a private firm in Bengaluru, said he had felt his father would be safe at his home in the Kalyan Nagar area of Dharwad. But his father wasn’t afraid. Srivijaya recalled how his father used to say “there is no death for sharana’’ (the true followers of the saint Basavanna).
Talking about threats to Kalburgi after his comments at a programme to support an anti-superstition bill, Srivijaya said: “Some people threw beer bottles at the house. Until a year ago, some youths would pass by our house shouting slogans against my father. These incidents later subsided and there was nothing unusual in my father’s life for the past year,” he said.
“My father was facing at least five cases for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. But this time the cowards killed him,” said Srivijaya, one of Kalburgi’s three children. He refused to deny or confirm the existence of a property dispute within the family.
“My elder sister was married to a person at Tamba near the Indi region (Karnataka’s Bijapur district) She became a widow a few years ago. She now lives with her young son in Bengaluru in a flat next to mine. Neither she nor my father told me about a property dispute concerning my sister. But my father helped my widowed sister get some money and property from her in-laws to live on her own,” he said.
Meanwhile, a CID team has been dispatched to Indi to quiz the family of Kalburgi’s elder daughter. Two teams would be sent to Kolhapur and Pune to gather information from probes into the murder of rationalists Govind Pansare and Narendra Dhabolkar. Investigators are also looking at a few complicated relations Kalburgi reportedly had with several persons including some of his students.