Hours after Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced a CID probe into the murder of progressive Kannada thinker and scholar MM Kalburgi, there is news that the state government has sought a CBI probe in the murder case.
“Karnataka govt to refer to CBI the probe into the murder of Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi,” said Karnataka Minister TB Jayachandra on Monday afternoon.
On Monday morning, a day after Kalburgi was shot dead at his residence in Dharwad in north Karnataka by two unidentified men, Karnataka CM handed the case over to the state CID.
“We have decided to hand over the case to CID…. This incident should not have happened. It is highly condemnable,” said CM Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru.
77-year-old Kalburgi, a former vice chancellor of Hampi University, was an associate of rationalist Govind Pansare of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, who also fell victim to similar circumstances in February. Both scholars’ views on Hindus’ idol worship drew the ire of right-wing Hindu outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal. Kalburgi’s views on idol worship were considered “derogatory” and “blasphemous” by these outfits and they protested against him vocally.
Kalburgi, the rationalist, often spoke out against superstitions and courted controversies because of his outspoken stand.
In Dharwad on Monday morning, hundreds of admirers of Kalburgi paid their last respects. The funeral is set to take place later in the day.
On Sunday morning, Kalburgi was shot dead at a point-blank range by two unidentified attackers who posed as his students. They knocked on his door and pumped bullets into his forehead and chest as soon as the door was opened by him. The attackers immediately fled on a bike. Kalburgi was rushed to a hospital where he died.
“Whoever is behind this, we will catch them and punish according to law,” said the Chief Minister, who visited Dharwad to pay his last respects to the scholar on Sunday.
On being asked if the investigators managed to get any clues about the assailants, Home Minister K J George said that the murder “will be investigated from all angles.”
The Hubli-Dharwad police had announced a special team to probe the murder that shook the Kannada literary world. Now, the probe is being handed over to the state CID.
Prof. Kalburgi, a winner of “Sahitya Akademi” awards, both by the centre and the state, had also voiced his concern for a better state anthem.
His work on “Vachana”(verses) literature had also come under severe criticism from the “veerashaiva” (Lingayat) community, which is a majority community in the state
(With inputs from PTI)