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Kalburgi, Pansare, Dhabolkar: Murders Similar to Gauri Lankesh. None Resolved

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that, since 1992, almost 40 journalists have been killed in India, where the motive could be confirmed. Whereas, there are 27 more cases where the motive remains unconfirmed.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:September 6, 2017, 2:14 PM IST
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Kalburgi, Pansare, Dhabolkar: Murders Similar to Gauri Lankesh. None Resolved
Senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her Bengaluru home by suspected hired killers. (Network18 Creatives)
New Delhi: A week before journalist Gauri Lankesh was murdered, a division bench of the Bombay High Court, while hearing petitions filed by members of Govind Pansare and Narendra Dhabolkar, observed that such murders were not “stray acts”.

“The accused cannot be absconding for so long without organisational back-up. Look into where they are getting funding from,” said Justice SC Dharmadhikari, emphasizing that the “security of the state was at stake here”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that, since 1992, almost 40 journalists have been killed in India, where the motive could be confirmed. Whereas, there are 27 more cases where the motive remains unconfirmed.

With Gauri Lankesh’s brother now demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the murder of the journalist and activist, News18 jots down similar cases:

Gauri Lankesh murder

2013 – Dr Narendra Dhabolkar: Not Resolved

Dr Dhabolkar, 65, was killed in Pune on August 20, 2013 by two unidentified men. He was an atheist, a famed anti-superstition activist and probably Maharashtra’s most vocal rationalist. The probe of the case was handed over to the CBI.

The key suspects in the case are Sarang Akolkar, Jay Prakash Hegde, Rudra Patil and Praveen Lindkar – who have been declared as absconding by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in the Goa blast case. Another accused, Vinay Pawar, is also on CBI’s radar.

CBI arrested Veerendra Tawade from Pune for Dr Dhabolkar’s murder and it has also announced a reward of 5 lakh for information on Tawade’s associates Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar.

It was in January this year that the Bombay High Court observed that it was not happy with the way the investigation was progressing. There was a minor setback in the case too when the Scotland Yard refused to help CBI with forensic investigation in the case.

2015 – Govind Pansare: Not Resolved

Pansare was a left-wing politician of the Communist Party of India, a lawyer and an author. When Pansare was out with his wife, two men on a motorcycle shot at them five times from a close range outside their house. Pansare was injured in his nape and chest. His wife was injured in her head. He succumbed to his injuries a few days later.

This case reached the judiciary when after a few days of the attack, an activist, Ketan Tirodkar filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court citing similarities of the case with the Dhabolkar murder.

The main arrest in the case was of Samir Gaikwad, activist of the Sanathan Sanstha Group. The police said that Gaikwad resembled one of the persons captured on the CCTV footage, so they started tapping his phone. The arrests came after Gaikwad allegedly boasted about the murder to a female friend on the phone.

However, in a major setback, Gaikwad was granted bail by a local court in Kolhapur recently. A special investigation team is probing the case currently and bail was granted on the condition that Gaikwad cannot leave Maharashtra.

The Bombay High Court in August this year observed that the modus operandi in the murder of Dr Dhabolkar and Pansare were similar and that it was a well-planned act. The court also asked CBI and SIT to probe a foreign-funding angle in the rationalist’s murder. The next date of hearing is September 14.

2015 – Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi: Not Resolved

Kalburgi was a veteran Kannada writer and former Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi — who was known for his strong stand against superstitious practices and right-wing groups. The close associate of Pansare was shot dead by two unidentified persons at his house.

Investigations began on 30 August, the day of the murder. A special team of five inspectors, headed by an Assistant commissioner, was formed by the Hubli–Dharwad Police, but it has not resulted in anything constructive.

Even the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe into the assassination has yielded no results yet. The only result that was achieved is that CID concluded that the two assailants who shot dead rationalists Narendra Dabholkar (65) and Govind Pansare (84) in Maharashtra were involved in Prof Kalburgi’s killing too.

Recently CID has stated that they are trying to look at the Kalburgi case with a ‘fresh eye’.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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