This is where we live.
Mr. Dabholkar had drafted an Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Bill 13 years ago but it repeatedly failed to get through the Assembly.
The Bill had proposed that those indulging in black magic or cashing in on people’s superstitions be jailed for up to seven years.
"Remember Gandhi. Remember what we did to him," was probably the last threat noted rationalist Narendra Dabholkar received from right-wing organizations opposed to the Maharashtra (eradication of black magic) bill. Dabholkar's Andrashradda Nirmulan Samiti (ANS) has been campaigning for the passage of the bill, which has been pending for 14 years now.
Dabholkar, who was shot dead here on Tuesday by unknown assailants, had referred to the threat while speaking to TOI last month. "I have been used to such threats since 1983," he had said. "But I'm fighting within the framework of the Constitution, and those opposing the bill should debate and discuss it as many times as they want. Only those who swindle the common people need to fear the bill. It has been pending in the state legislature for the last six sessions. Misguided forces keep raking up some issues and the government hesitates to approve the bill."
Dabholkar's family and friends said he had received frequent threats and was attacked many times with weapons and sticks. But he had refused to take police protection.
Our fundamentalists are delighted.
Right wing Hindu organisation Sanatan Sanstha on Wednesday appeared to gloat over the killing of social reformer and anti-superstitions crusader Narendra Dabholkar in Pune.
In a front-page statement in its daily mouthpiece "Sanatan Prabhat", Sanatan Sanstha leader Jayant Athavale said births and deaths are pre-destined and everybody gets the fruit of their karma.
"Instead of dying bedridden through illness, or after some surgery, such a death for Dabholkar is a blessing of the almighty," Athavale said in the statement.
And this is no isolated event. There is a good chance of a fundamentalist (supported strongly by the groups involved in the killing) becoming our next Prime Minister. Why? Because our corporate world loves him.
Yet, Big Business loves the “Gujarat Model” because it gives huge tax write-offs (eg, over 60% on the Tatas’ Nano project). Business adores Modi for his ruthless decisiveness in granting super-fast industrial approvals. In promoting Modi, it’s committing the same blunders that Hitler’s and Mussolini’s business backers made — aggravating the grave threat to Indian democracy from the communal extreme-right.
An encomium for Dr Dabholkar by his colleague Sanal Edamaruku. Mr Edamaruku is best known for exposing the Roman Catholic hierarchy's fraud involving the Jesus wept miracle in Mumbai, threats by the Catholic hierarchy being a reason why he was forced into exile.
When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.
So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland
Religious conservatives are a problem everywhere.