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Anti-superstition leader Narendra Dabholkar shot dead; Prithviraj Chavan announces Rs10 lakh reward for info on killers

Tuesday, 20 August 2013 - 9:54am IST Updated: Tuesday, 20 August 2013 - 4:25pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA Web Team
Dhabholkar, founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, was gunned down while he was on his daily morning walk near Omkareshwar temple in Pune.
  • DNA

Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was at the forefront of a campaign to persuade Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, was shot dead by two unidentified youths at 7.20 am on Omkarweshwar bridge near Cosmos Bank in Pune on Tuesday morning.

Dhabholkar, founder of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), was gunned down while he was on his daily morning walk.

Must read: A blow by blow account of the last moments of Narendra Dabholkar's life

Dabholkar's murder comes days after the Maharashtra government assured introduction of the anti-superstition bill even as Right Wing groups continued to oppose the bill.

Pune Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol, who confirmed Dabholkar's death, said that police were investigating the motive but no suspects have so far been identified.

Eyewitnesses informed the police control room about the incident. Dabholkar's body has been sent to Sassoon Hospital for autopsy.

Police identified Dabholkar from his wallet and his identity cards. His wallet contained two signed cheques, one in the name of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti and another in the name of an individual.

Police inspector Manohar Joshi, incharge of Deccan Gymkhana police station, said, "We are  scrutinising nearby CCTV cameras for the identity of suspects. Eyewitnesses have noted the number (7756) of the motorbike. We are probing the incident. Dabholkar was shot at from a close range and the assailants fled the place via Rasta Peth Road."

The assailants shot four rounds at him from behind, two bullets hit the back of his head leading to instant death. The rounds were fired from a 7.65 caliber pistol. Of the two attackers on the bike, one was wearing a rainy cap, police said.
 
Meanwhile MANS workers said that Dabholkar's body would be kept in the office of Sadhana weekly for a few weeks.
 
Later, it would be moved to his hometown in Satara for the last rites. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar termed the incident as unfortunate.
 
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has announced Rs10 lakh reward for anyone who gives information on Dabholkar's killers.
 
Condemning Dabholkar's killing, state Home Minister RR Patil vowed that his killers would be nabbed at the earliest and the police were working in this direction.

Dabholkar spearheaded the "Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti" (Anti-Superstition movement) to change social mindset and inculcate scientific temper.

A staunch fighter for the cause of eradication of inhuman rituals and superstitions, Dabholkar was also in the forefront of the campaign to persuade Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, opposed by certain sections of Warkari sect, in the State legislature.

Dabholkar, who had a degree in medicine, started working in the field of superstition eradication in 1983.

In 1989, along with other like-minded people, he founded the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti.

The spot where Dabholkar was shot

In the past 20 years he confronted many babas, buas, tantriks, etc. and led many agitations against several forms of superstitions, water pollution and animal sacrifices.

He was also the founder member of a de-addiction Centre, Parivartan in Satara.

As the news of his death broke, reactions on Twitter ranged from disbelief to shock. Here is what Twitteratti had to say:

Here is a video of Dabholkar giving a talk on Nirmal Baba.

Also read: Narendra Dabholkar, the man who waged a war against superstition in all forms




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