How 3 bullets and a dead rationalist gave life to anti-superstition movement : Dabholkar’s MANS grows from 250 to 330 branches
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How 3 bullets and a dead rationalist gave life to anti-superstition movement : Dabholkar’s MANS grows from 250 to 330 branches

Strong presence of youngsters at the protest march Jawab Do, Who killed Dabholkar? is indicative of the increased awareness about the work of rationalist Dabholkar and MANS

pune Updated: Aug 21, 2018 15:07 IST
Shalaka Shinde and Abhay Khairnar
Shalaka Shinde and Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Dabholkar's organisation,Andhashradha Nirmolan Samiti
People take part in a protest march on Monday to mark the fifth death anniversary of Narendra Dabholkar. Here, the protestors are seen at Dandekar bridge. (HT PHOTO )

At least 250 to 300 people thronged the Vithal Ramji Shinde bridge, near Omkareshwar temple at 7am on Monday. It was the fifth death anniversary of rationalist and anti-superstition crusader Narendra Dabholkar. Dabholkar was shot dead by two bike-borne assailants on August 20, 2013, sending shock waves not only in Pune but also in the country.

The protest march was named as, Jawab Do, Who killed Dabholkar?, by the members of Maharashtra Andhashradha Nirmolan Samiti, an organisation founded to Dabholkar. The non-governmental organisation (NGO) has been holding protests on the 20th of every month ever since the murder of Dabholkar.

The increased number of participants is indicative of the increased presence and awareness about the work of Dabholkar and ANS.

Andhashradha Nirmolan Samiti has been growing slowly and steadily. What was 250 branches in 2013 has become 330 now. It is also gaining popularity in other parts of the country, especially after the enactment of Maharashtra prevention and eradication of human sacrifice and other inhuman, evil and aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. This act was passed in the immediate aftermath of Dr Dabholkar’s assassination. ANS is now present in New Delhi, Karnataka, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh. While the number of participants during the protest marches in the past months were comparably low, the fifth anniversary protest march registered an increased presence of youngsters, as observed by Hamid Dabholkar, son of the slain rationalist.

His children, Mukta and Hamid, agree that the slow pace of investigation led to three other murders that happened after Dr Dabholkar was killed Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, MM Kalburgi in Dharwad, Karnataka, Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

BJP sheltering Sanatan Sanstha, alleges Congress

Two former chief ministers of the Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan attacked the right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of going soft and sheltering the radical outfit. Senior Congress leaders reiterated the demand to ban the organisation after fresh arrest was made in Dabholkar case.

Sanatan Sanstha, through a press release said that the outfit is being accused for its involvement in criminal activities without any proof. “There is a demand to ban Sanatan Sanstha even before the judicial process in Dabholkar’s case is underway. The demand is being made to gain political milage,” said Chetan Rajhans, spokesperson, Sanatan Sanstha,

Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan were speaking at a press conference in Congress Bhavan on Monday when they attacked the BJP government. On Saturday, CBI arrested Sachin Andure from Pune in connection with Narendra Dabholkar’s murder. Earlier, the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) had arrested four members associated with Sanatan Sanstha and had seized explosives from them.

Both the former chief ministers said that the investigating agencies have gathered enough proof against the organisation for their involvement in the killing of Dabholkar.

Meanwhile former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said that the government had earlier arrested two persons saying that they were involved in the Dabholkar case and now they have again arrested different set of people in the same murder case. He questioned as to who the arrested people were and what is the status?

Chavan said that it is sad that despite having enough proof, the government has not been able to solve the case for the last five years and this gives an impression that they have not serious about the case. Chavan said that during his tenure, he had prepared a 1000 pages report and had sent it to the central government for banning the organisation. The central government had asked various questions which were addressed by the then state government.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 14:27 IST