Trend of targeting liberals ‘dangerous’, says Bombay high court
Gauri Lankesh’s murder came up during the hearing of petitions regarding the killings of rationalists Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansaremumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2017 00:58 IST
Referring to the recent killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, the Bombay high court on Thursday said the “trend of killing people who believe in liberal principles is dangerous”.
“Not just thinkers but any person or organisation that believes in liberal principles can be targeted,” said the division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre. “This trend is dangerous.”
Lankesh’s murder came up during the hearing of petitions regarding the killings of rationalists Dr Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. Their families have approached the HC complaining about the lack of seriousness in the investigation of the murder cases.
Responding to the petitions, additional solicitor general Anil Singh said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has done its best to trace the wanted accused in the Dabholkar murder case and the central agency has now secured some cyber inputs which may lead it to the absconding accused.
“But, in between one more person has been targeted, one more precious life has been lost,” the judges interrupted him. “Will more people be targeted?” they sought to know from Singh and observed that the central agency cannot “take this (killings of people with liberal principles) lightly.”
“There has to be some respect for liberal values and opinions but tehre is none,” the bench said, adding, “it is like: if I oppose a person’s view, I can get that person eliminated.”
During the hearing, the bench also sought to know if the CBI had changed its line of investigation as suggested by the court earlier. The HC had earlier asked the central agency to follow the money trail to nab the accused saying a person cannot remain in hiding for a long period without institutional and financial support.
On Thursday, the bench repeated it advice. The judges said they do not doubt the efforts made by the central agency, but those efforts had not led to any concrete results.
Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013, while Pansare was shot in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015 and he succumbed to his injuries four days later. While the CBI is probing the Dabholkar murder, a special investigating team of the state CID is investigating Pansare’s murder.
Journalist-cum-activist Gauri Lankesh was killed in similar manner – ‘bike-borne’ assailants fired at her outside her house in Bangalore on September 5, and this is suspected to be the handy work of the same right-wing group which is also suspected to be involved in the two rationalists’ murders.