As the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar remains unsolved almost two years after, his daughter and son have filed a petition in the Bombay high court demanding constitution of a special team of CBI to probe the case.
Mukta Dabholkar, a lawyer, and Hamid Dabholkar, a doctor by profession, have also requested that the probe by this special investigation team be monitored by the High Court. The petition may come up for hearing soon.
Dabholkar, a staunch rationalist and anti-superstition activist, was shot dead by unidentified assailants while on a morning walk in Pune on August 20, 2013.
After the police investigation made no headway, the case was handed over to CBI by the High Court last year in response to a PIL by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar. But the central agency too has failed to crack the case.
Dabholkar headed Maharashtra Andh-shraddha Nirmoolan Samiti and had doggedly pursued the enactment of Anti-Superstition and Eradication of Black Magic bill.
The bill was opposed by some political parties for being `anti-Hindu'. However, four days after Dabholkar's murder, Maharashtra government brought it into force through an ordinance and the bill was passed by the legislature in December 2013.
Mukta and Hamid claim in the petition that their father's campaign for the bill incurred him the wrath of some people and he had received death threats.
The website of a religious organisation had displayed Dabholkar's photograph with a red cross on it. After the murder, the photograph disappeared, says the petition.
Dabholkar had also demanded inquiry into unlawful activities of Sanatan Prabhat, a Hindu organisation, which had filed civil and criminal cases against him because of his criticism, the petition says.
Most of the media had speculated that fundamentalist right-wing organisations were responsible for Dabholkar's murder, says the petition. It further alleges that Malagonda Patil, who died while allegedly trying to plant a bomb in Goa in October 2009, had written an article stressing the need to eliminate Dabholkar.
Despite the state government's reward of Rs 10 lakh for information leading to the arrest of murderers and the chief minister's claim on August 26, 2013 that police had got some important clues and CCTV footage of the two suspected killers, the probe failed to make any break-through, the petition says.