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Populist facade of chasing the killers

Lack of will suggests agenda on part of police, writes Arun Srivastava.

Populist facade of chasing  the killers

Karnataka police trying to find a close similarity between the brutal assassination of journalist Gauri Lankesh and the murder of rationalist M M Kalburgi is the manifestation of the state police's lack of will to nab the marauders of Lankesh and pushing the probe into a blind alley. It is a shame that even after three years of Kalburgi's killing, the Karnataka police has not succeeded in at least identifying the killers. Through its postures it wants us to believe that it has been honest and sincere in pursuing the probe, but the mighty killers have vanished.

How could Karnataka police come to find the similarity is intriguing? In police parlance, no inference could be drawn without a significant lead. Since the Karnataka police claim similarity, it must be in possession of some evidence or information about the motive and identity of the killers. It is amazing why the state police is determined to push the incident under the carpet. Who does it intend to protect? When the police claims similarity it also implies similarity between the actors and plots of the two killings. As it claims to have unraveled the plot behind Kalburgi's killing, one assumes that it must have identified the killers.
Police officials probing Lankesh killing claimed that they were 'very sure' there is a link between the two murders. The ballistic report suggests that it was fired from a similar pistol used in the murders of Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. In all three cases, it was found that a 7.65 mm pistol was used. Preliminary investigations into the Gauri Lankesh murder also suggest that a similar weapon was used. However, intriguingly the police claim that 'as of now the motive behind the murder of Gauri Lankesh is unclear'.
In this backdrop how could they claim that two murders were similar in nature? Have they succeeded in establishing the motive behind Kalburgi's assassination? Or, is it a conspiracy to take the probe in a wrong direction? Investigations in the Kalburgi murder case by the Karnataka police had revealed that the 7.65 mm pistol used to kill him was the same that was used to murder 81-year-old Maharashtra rationalist and Leftist thinker Govind Pansare in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015.
Obviously, the question arises: why so far the Karnataka police has refrained from making public the identity of the killers? If it has really identified why was it protecting these mercenaries? At whose instruction have they been concealing their identity? If they have not succeeded to trace the killers then it is really a shame for the Karnataka police. It would not be an exaggeration to say it is a worthless agency.
Their inaction also puts Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's government under the scanner. Polemically a Congress government cannot be supposed to be involved in the elimination of an anti-communal, anti-RSS, rationalist and secular person. Logically it was expected of Siddaramaiah that he should have played a proactive role in guiding his police to find the killers. But he preferred to sit tight on the file and refrained from pulling up the police for the lethargic probe, failing to arrest the killers. As a politician, he should have the opportunity to nail his detractors and political enemies. But he did not move. This becomes more agonising when evidences gathered from the murder spot are indicative of the involvement of rabid communal and fascist elements.
The gruesome murder of Maharashtra rationalist Narayan Dabholkar in 2013 and activist Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in 2015 ought to be seen in this backdrop. After so many years of the murder, the Mumbai police, which claims to have the highest level of professionalism and expertise, at par with Scotland Yard (UK) police, has miserably failed to arrest the real killers. A few supporters of Sanatan Saunsthan have been arrested but it is yet not clear; in fact, the Mumbai police has failed to convincingly establish whether they actually carried out the killing. There are similarities among all the killings; of Dabholkar, of Pansare, of Gauri and Kalburgi but there is no information on who plotted the killings and who carried them out.
For obvious political reasons, the SITs constituted by the Karnataka and Maharashtra police had tried to implicate the Naxalites. Unfortunately for them, in spite of their best efforts, they could not accomplish their task to link Naxalites with Lankesh killing. For SIT, initially, their task was made easier by the brother of Gauri. But it soon boomeranged. A couple of days ago, the SIT came on record that they have not found any evidence to establish the role of the Naxals in the killing. Even the CPI (Maoist) has strongly refuted any such imputation. In fact, it targeted PM Modi for his silence on her murder which it says was 'indicative of the Hindutva hand in her murder'. "It is their lowly and dirty act to pressure and get her brother to hint at the possibility of Maoist hand in her murder," a party release said. It is an open secret that Gauri and her brother Indrajit were not on the best of terms. The brother-sister relationship turned bitter over the possession of the original Lankesh Patrike publication when their journalist-father, Palyada Lankesh, passed away in January 2000.
Abhay, spokesman for the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist), said, "The party strongly condemns the murder of Leftist, pro-people, progressive and democratic journalist Gauri Lankesh by Brahminical fascist goons of the Sangh Parivar protected by the BJP government at the Centre. The party appeals to all like-minded forces to hit the streets for a determined fight against the forces that killed Lankesh."
As Lankesh stood for the marginalised and oppressed, against the atrocities of the Hindutva forces and corrupt governments, she had become an eyesore for the Hindutva forces ever since she had translated the book 'Gujarat Files' by Gujarat journalist Rana Ayyub exposing the involvement of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in the Muslim carnage in 2002.
It is not merely a coincidence that all the four persons who were opposed to Hindu right wing were shot at the doorstep of their residences. The modus operandi and style of the killing make it explicit that a powerful group with a strong political commitment and mission opposed to secular ethics has been behind these killings. One thing is also absolutely clear that the police of Karnataka and Maharashtra are aware of their activities but under the orders of their political masters have not been laying their hands on them. With Assembly elections in Karnataka only a few months away, the Congress would be only too happy if activists of the Sangh Parivar are implicated in the murder. With police adopting a laid-back approach, it is certain that as in the case of Kulburgi and others, in this case too they would provide enough space and time to the killers to destroy evidence and go scot free.
There have been similar assassinations in Bangladesh and Pakistan as well in the past two years: secular bloggers, baul singers, and sufi qawwals were killed by fanatics. Writers, intellectuals, and poets have faced the heat and will continue to receive threats as they question the powers that be for their murky activities and politics. Those who push the majoritarian idea of India would never like to be questioned. Kalburgi, Pansare, Dabholkar, and Lankesh represented the rationale and defiant voices of India. IPA
(The views expressed are strictly personal.)

Arun Srivastava

Arun Srivastava

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