One person has been arrested in connection with the killing of veteran Communist leader and rationalist Govind Pansare in February this year. 81-year-old Govind Pansare was shot at outside his home in Sagar Mala locality of Kolhapur city on February 16 by unidentified assailants. Mr. Pansare had finally succumbed to his injuries on February 20 at Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital.
The police on Wednesday claimed headway in the case after the arrest of one Sameer Gaikwad from Sangli early today after a joint operation by Kolhapur and Sangli police. The police have also claimed that 32-years-old Gaikwad has some criminal backgound. There are reports that Gaikwad is a member of Maharashtra based right-wing hardliner group. He was produced in a court at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra which remanded him in police custody till September 23.
The octogenarian author and an activist lawyer was also on the forefront of a campaign against road toll tax in Kolhapur.
The arrest has come even as Karnataka police is still grappling for headway in the recent killing of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi at Dharwad in Karnataka on August 30. Another rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was killed in Pune in 2013. The state government of Karnataka on Tuesday had even announced Rs 5 lakh reward to those who could provide clues about the murder of Kalburgi.
In the case of Dabholkar too, the police is yet to taste any success. The 67-year-old rationalist and author from Maharashtra, Dhabolkar, had spent much of his life exposing sham rituals, miracles, black magic and even fraudulent godmen.
Left parties and rationalist forums have voiced deep concern over the delay in tracking down and apprehending the killers of these social activists. They have also expressed apprehensions that the fundamental elements could have been behind these murders.
Earlier, Pansare’s family had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court demanding constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the killing.
So far, the police investigations have not yielded much apart from vaguely probable sketches of the assassins and the recovery of a couple of motorbikes from Kolhapur city which were suspected to have been used by the killers.
(With inputs from the PTI)