Vol. XL No. 36 September 04, 2016

Historic Convention at Dharwad Government Given Two Weeks Deadline

DHARWAD, a peaceful education centre of northern Karnataka was witness to a historic march and convention on August 30. Thousands of writers, artists, intellectuals, teachers, students, concerned citizens from all corners of state and the country marched through the city streets in a silent procession and held a massive convention amidst incessant rains. It was organised by Committee against Murder of Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi – a coalition of over hundred organisations from Karnataka and other states. The occasion was the first death anniversary of writer researcher Dr Kalburgi. Silent procession started from 'Soujanya', the residence of Dr Kalburgi to the venue of convention. Spouses and children of Dr Dabholkar, Com Govind Pansare and Dr Kalburgi participated in the procession and convention.             ‘You have killed one Kalburgi. Look, there are thousands of Kalburgis here', 'India shall not rest till killers of Dabholkar, Com Pansare and Dr Kalburgi  are punished', 'You can kill persons, not ideas', 'Good People, your silence emboldens killers' "Communalism is enemy no. 1', -- were some of the slogans heard and seen on the banners.

The convention passed a resolution expressing grave concern over the delay and lack of progress in investigation and arrest of Dr Kalburgi’s killers, and demanded that Karnataka government make a formal statement within two weeks on the exact status of investigation and its commitment to bring it to a logical conclusion.  The convention has also demanded arrest of Dr Kalburgi’s Killers within 30 days. Dr G N Devy, Prof. Rajendra Chenni introduced the resolution in English and Kannada respectively. Nearly ten thousand people participated in the procession and convention.
Many jathas from different parts of Karnataka and India converged at Dharwad. The main jatha from Bangalore to Dharwad  led by Prof Chandrashekar Patil, GN Nagaraj, secretariat member of CPI(M), CPI Leader Dr Siddangagowda Patil and other writers, intellectuals  stopped over at Tumkur, Davangere, Chitradurga etc.

Dr G N Devy, Mukta Dabholkar, Megha Pansare, Srivijaya Kalburgi, Chaman Lal, Antara Dev Sen,  Dr Siddharth Varadarajan, Kumar Ketkar, film script writers Anjum Rajbali, Rajendra Chenni, Chandrashekar Patil, Gurulinga Kapse, K Neela, Dr Siddangagowda Patil and many others spoke on the occassion. A primer in Kannada – ‘I am Kalburgi' – on writings of Dr Kalburgi was also released.

Dr Dhabolkar was killed about 500 meters away for his home. Com. Pansare was killed just outside his home. Dr Kalburgi was killed inside his home. Our silence and patience is emboldening the forces that killed the three great public intellectuals and rationalists. We should not rest till killers and forces behind them are identified and brought to book. There is no difference between Karnataka, Maharashtra governments or the central government as far as seriousness about punishing the culprits is concerned.  Maximum pressure needs to be exerted. This was the common theme of most speeches.
After the High Court started monitoring the investigation, there is some progress in the investigation of murder of Dr Dhabolkar and Com Pansare. Hence we should petition for High Court monitored investigation of Dr Kalburgi murder also.  It is not just a question of identifying killers and punishing them. It is not just a question of defending freedom of expression. It is also confronting forces that want to silence voices of workers, peasants and all oppressed people. This was emphasized by most speakers.