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Ensure smooth probe of rationalists' killings: High court to political parties

Ensure smooth probe of rationalists killings: High court to political parties

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Friday said political parties and their bosses should show "maturity" and ensure that there are no obstacles in the probe into the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabhoklar and Govind Pansare.

"Voice of dissent" must not be muffled, a division bench headed by Justice S C Dharmadhikari said while hearing petitions filed by family members of Dabholkar and Pansare demanding an HC-monitored probe. Dabholkar, a well-known anti-superstition activist, was shot dead on August 20, 2013 in Pune.

Pansare, CPI leader and rationalist, was shot on February 16, 2015 near his house in Kolhapur in western Maharashtra. He died four days later.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of state police are probing the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare, respectively.

The high court Friday said that the state government should provide all "ground-level assistance" for the probe.

"No one should attempt to silence any voice of dissent. That should be our endeavour. We expect all political parties and their bosses to show maturity and not create obstacles in the investigation," Justice Dharmadhikari said.

"All political parties, those who are in power now and in future, should ensure that no outfit or person involved in such attacks is spared," the judge added. The court directed the additional chief secretary of the state Home Department and the principal secretaries of the state Finance and Public Works departments to hold meetings with CBI and CID officials. "The state shall provide ground-level assistance if the CBI proposes to carry out any major operation," it said.

The judges also wondered why the government and the CBI were waiting for its orders to carry out the probe.

"When a similar attack was carried out in Karnataka on writer Gauri Lankesh (in 2017), the police there immediately probed and arrested the accused without waiting for court orders or for any petitions to be filed," the court said.

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