Two Convicted for Murder of Narendra Dhabolkar

A special court for UAPA in Pune has convicted two persons on charges of murder of rationalist Narendra Dhabolkar and has sentenced them to life imprisonment. The two convicted - Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar - are the sharpshooters who executed the murder. In its order, the court has recorded that “(The) present case is very serious and is of national importance. Not only Dr. Narendra Dabholkar is assassinated, but an attempt is made to finish his ideology”. Three other accused persons - the alleged mastermind, Dr. Virendrasinh Tawade, lawyer Sanjiv Punalekar and activist Vikram Bhave - all linked to Sanatan Sanstha were acquitted for lack of evidence against them.

Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, was assassinated when he was on his morning walk on August 20th, 2013 in Pune. Subsequent to his murder in 2013, three other rationalists/journalist - Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh were murdered between February 2015 and September 2017. It has been said that the culprits in all four cases are linked.

The court has also noted that the murder was merely executed by the two convicts, and stated that the “main mastermind behind the crime is someone else” and that the Pune police and CBI has to deliberate on their failure or inaction by succumbing to influence of people in power. It has also recorded that it is crystal clear that Sanathan Sanstha, Hindu Janajgruti Samiti and other allied Hindu organisations were nurturing bitter enmity against Dr. Narendra Dhabolkar.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court dismissed the plea of Narendra Dhabolkar’s daughter - Mukta Dhabolkar - who challenged the discontinuation of the court-monitored probe, and had argued that it would result in the conviction of the assailants and that the mastermind behind the assassination would go scot free.