Who was Dr Narendra Dabholkar, activist shot dead in 2013? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Who was Dr Narendra Dabholkar, activist shot dead in 2013?

By | Written by Vaishnawi Sinha
May 10, 2024 02:46 PM IST

A special court on Friday convicted two accused and acquit three in the decade-old murder case of activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar.

A special UAPA court in Maharashra's Pune convicted and sentenced two men to life imprisonment and acquitted three in the murder case of Dr Narendra Dabholkar. At the age of 67, Dabholkar, an anti-superstition crusader, was shot dead while on a morning walk on Omkareshwar Bridge on August 20, 2013.

Dr Dabholkar, was shot dead by two bike-borne assailants in Pune on August 20, 2013. (HT FILE)
Dr Dabholkar, was shot dead by two bike-borne assailants in Pune on August 20, 2013. (HT FILE)

Additional Sessions Judge (Special Court) P P Jadhav read out the order regarding the assassination case, awarding life imprisonment and a fine of 5 lakh to accused Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar. As per the probe carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Andure and Kalaskar had shot Dabholkar.

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While two accused were convicted, the special court ended up acquitting key accused Virendrasinh Tawde, Sanjeev Punalekar and Vikram Bhave for want of evidence. According to the prosecution, Tawde was one of the masterminds of the murder.

Read more: Narendra Dabholkar murder case: 2 accused convicted, 3 acquitted

During the investigation, the accused were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 120 B (conspiracy ), 302 (murder), relevant sections of the Arms Act, and section 16 (Punishment for terrorist act ) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA.

Who was rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar?

Dr Narendra Dabholkar was a physician, activist, rationalist and author based in Maharashtra. He was the founder and president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, aimed at eradicating superstitious practices from the state. He spent 12 years as a medical practitioner and later became a social worker with the aim of eradicating superstition and black magic practices.

Through the course of his career as an activist, Dabholkar campaigned against superstition, tantriks and holy men who promised ‘miracle cures’ to ailments. He was also critical of many godmen across the country, and played a crucial part in drafting the Anti-Jaadu Tona Bill (Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Ordinance).

Read more: 2 Sanatan Sanstha members convicted of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar’s murder

Narendra Dabholkar was killed on August 20, 2013, when he was out on a morning walk in Pune. Four rounds were fired at him from a point blank range. Two bullets hit his head while one hit his chest, killing him instantly.

A probe by the CBI revealed that his murder was planned by a Hindu group called Sanatan Sanstha. Virendrasinh Tawde was termed as the prime accused of the assassination, and had a direct link to the religious group. He was also termed as the mastermind of the attack.

While there was pushback against the Anti-Superstition bill in the state assembly, it was cleared by the Maharashtra cabinet a day after his death. After making 29 amendments to the bill, it was finally passed as an ordinance in December 2013.

(With inputs from PTI)

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