The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday arrested Sachin Prakasrao Andure, the key suspect in the assassination of rationalist and doctor, Narendra Dabholkar. Dabholkar, who was the founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), was shot dead in Pune in August 2013. Born in 1945, Dabholkar had worked as a doctor for 12 years before he became a social activist in the 1980s.
In the early years of his work as a social activist, his focus was on social justice. From the late 1980s, however, he started actively advocating against superstition. He founded MANS in 1989, which has been working towards the eradication of superstition, particularly in the state of Maharashtra. Dabholkar was also critical against self-styled Godmen in the country and his organisation spent much of its effort in confronting such men who promised miraculous cures to believers. Dabholkar also worked for the upliftment of Dalits and others marginalised sections of society.
From 2010, Dabholkar and his organisation made several attempts to get an anti-superstition law passed by the Maharashtra government. However, his attempts were strongly opposed by political parties, particularly the Shiv Sena and the BJP who were of the opinion that such a law would go against Hindu culture.
On August 20, 2013, Dabholkar was shot dead by two gunmen while he was out for morning walk. His assassination was condemned by several social activists and political leaders. Soon after he passed away, the Maharashtra cabinet cleared the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance and in December 2013 it was enacted as an ordinance.
Last week, the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad had announced the arrests of three men affiliated to radical Hindu outfits from Nallasopara and Satara. One of them is believed to have been associated with the Sanatan Sanstha.