Terrible news from India today –
Renowned rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, who fought for a law against superstition and black magic, was shot dead this morning in Pune in Maharashtra, an incident which sparked grief and outrage in the city and his hometown Satara.
The 70-year-old was on his morning walk when he was shot near the Omkareshwar Bridge in the city by gunmen on a motorcycle. The police said four shots were fired at him at close range, two of which hit him in the back of his head.
The authorities don’t think it was random.
In Dr Dabholkar’s hometown Satara, thousands came out on the streets to pay tribute to a man loved and respected for his campaign against superstition and self-appointed godmen.
Political parties also announced a shutdown in Pune on Wednesday. All autorickshaws will stay off the roads.
Announcing Rs. 10 lakh for any information on the murder, the Maharashtra government called it a planned killing and slammed the police for failing to protect the senior activist.
The IHEU has more:
Dr. Dabholkar, a medical doctor, plunged into anti-superstition work in 1983 and built a concrete movement in his home state of Maharashtra. He was founder of the Maharashtra Forum for Elimination of Superstition, Maharashtra Andha Shraddha Nirmulan Samiti, editor of Sadhana magazine devoted to propagation of progressive thought, and had served previously as vice president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA), an Member Organization of IHEU.
Dabholkar’s work over many years confronted and exposed the fraudulent practices of babas and swamis by explaining the science behind so-called miracles, often used to defraud some of the least well-off members of society of their money or possessions. Dabholkar organised travelling troops of activists travelling all over the state, and campaigned at a political level with great erudition against superstition and so-called ‘black magic’.
India needs more people like that, not fewer.