Instead of acting as a deterrent, the killing of comrade Govind Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar will only bolster the fight against extremism and superstition, said reformists and socialists from the state.
The two incidents within 18 months, at a time when the dissenting voices are being suppressed, have raised the question: Is the liberal space in Maharashtra is shrinking?
According to journalist and social commentator Aroon Tikekar the use of violent language is to be blamed for the rise in extremism.
“It is a fight between thoughts and violence. The activities of extremists are on the rise because we as society and government allow it to happen. As we cannot use violence, we need social evolution to fight extremists,” he said.
Socialist leader Kumar Saptarshi said, “How many rationalists will these communalists kill. After his death, Pansare and his thoughts will only spread to every household in Maharashtra.”
“Extremists have attacked liberals on several occasions, but it did not impact our fight against their anti-social ideology. We are shocked, but we will bounce back with a greater speed,” said social activist Medha Patkar.
“The communalists seem to be fearless in thinking there will be no action against them,” Saptarshi said. Patkar said, “Going by the importance of votebank politics, I have serious doubts the state government will catch Pansare’s killers.”