Dabholkar was a leader of the rationalist movement in India, who had been fighting for anti-superstition and anti-black magic bills. He was gunned down by cowards on motorcycles this morning — it was an assassination, plain and simple.
I’m passing along a brief summary I received this morning.
With deep distress and regret I have to report to you the assassination this morning of one of India’s most important Rationalist and Humanist leaders, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, founder of the Maharashtra Andha Shraddha Nirmulan Samiti or Maharashtra Forum for Elimination of Superstition. News is trickling in.
Inspired by the work of the great rationalist Basava Premanand, 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 briefly Vice President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, a Member Organisation of IHEU.
A person of great charm and commitment to the cause,he refused to spread his activism outside Maharashtra because he was keen on first developing a branch of his organisation in each village of Maharashtra.
Organisational work of this kind made the movement a force to reckon with in Maharashtra state where he was spearheading the movement for a Bill against Witchcraft earlier called the Anti-Superstition Bill. The earlier Bill was passed in one house of the legislature but did not get through the second. His untiring efforts were successful, and the new Bill garnered the support of all the political parties except that of the Shiv Sena and the BJP. The ruling Congress party, however, did not take it up on the Business Agenda of the Legislature – many suspect that this was because of the upset it would cause to the orthodox. When passed, it would be a most potent weapon in the fight against superstitions which sap the life blood of Indian society.