Profile picture
smruti @smrutimumbai
, 35 tweets, 12 min read Read on Twitter
Today marked five years since #NarendraDabholkar was assassinated while on his morning walk in Pune (thread)

That act robbed Maharashtra and the rest of the country of one of the finest rationalist minds and dogged anti-superstition activists.

#NarendraDabholkar was 67 yrs old
For 18 long years, #NarendraDabholkar and his compatriots had campaigned for an anti-superstition anti-black magic law.
They were convinced that poorest/weakest people were being exploited under the rubric of religious practices though these had little or no religious sanction
On Aug 26, 2013, less than a week after #NarendraDabholkar was shot dead, the Maharashtra govt promulgated an ordinance. And formalised the law in December that year.

Since then, the law has seen amendments which diluted it, the list of banned activities has been reducing.
Another fine rationalist of Maharashtra, Shyam Manav, had worked on this draft law too. And had endowed it with several strong attributes.

Manav and #NarendraDabholkar and other activists of the Andhshraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANS) had been receiving flak, threats,were attacked
They carried on regardless - in the interest of rationale, reason, scientific inquiry, and to stop the exploitation of the poorest of poor, women, children and others at the hands of babas, gurus, black magic practitioners etc.

#NarendraDabholkar took on powerful babas +
+ not for publicity or to win popularity stakes but because he wanted to prove to the gullible poor that they were being taken for a ride, exploited (often sexually in case of women and girls) and rendered penniless chasing some “cure”, to show human sacrifice was wrong
In this, they received immense support too. From worthy and well-known scientists like Dr Jayant Narlikar, rationalist and theatre/film thespians Dr Shriram Lagoo and Nilu Phule, lawyers and social activists who worked tirelessly but without charging a penny to further the cause
#NarendraDabholkar was undoubtedly the face of the campaign and the demand for the law. He was vilified beyond belief. Openly attacked and threatened. He persisted.

Powerful PR professionals joined in the game, feeding journalists stories of vilification and maligning him.
And lined up Hindu gurus for quotes to show how #NarendraDabholkar was anti-Hindu.

Dabholkar was an atheist. But he understood and accepted the role of religion, more specifically religious practices or rituals, in people’s lives. He was against abusive/exploitative/inhuman +
+ practices under the garb of religion. And he didn’t discriminate between self-styled babas or gurus of different religions.

His rationale, cool and calm approach, unflinching dedication to the cause unnerved many but especially self-styled protectors of Hinduism.
Think Sanatan Sanstha. The way this org ran a defamatory and scurrilous campaign personally against #NarendraDabholkar - the man, not the cause - should have rung alarm bells.

That the assassination has been traced back to the SS isn’t surprising. What is, is the inexcusable +
+ delay and unwillingness to bring his killers and their ideological parent org to book.

Why did it take five long years to crack this case? Why was the link to the org not followed through and acted upon? Would the murders of Pansare, Kalburgi, #GauriLankesh been prevented?
#NarendraDabholkar ‘s family - wife Shaila, children Mukta and Hamid, and his co-workers, his supporters all need a closure. In the face of personal grief and braving threats, they have continued to work for the cause of reason and scientific inquiry, for these five years.
Mukta took the stage in Pune yesterday evening, speaking to students and young people on the need to continue the good fight.

Also on the stage was Dr Jayant Narlikar.

Today, she and others commemorated #NarendraDabholkar ‘s memory and rededicated themselves to the cause.
The law has been in force but many of its provisions diluted. Despite that, self-styled babas and gurus and others have been caught.
Some 400+ cases were registered under it till the end of 2017. Convictions, as with any Indian law implementation, are few.
Posting some quotes of #NarendraDabholkar

In 2007, he wrote “After 3 years(as president of ANS) I wanted to step down but could not. Then they decided to allow me to step down once the anti-black magic Bill was passed. It’s being postponed time and again, and I remain the prez”
“During the last 18 years, we (ANS) never experienced economic difficulty because of our unique way of work. The org doesn’t have an office of its own. All the branches are self-supporting, they earn a little from the programmes they organise...”
“I believe in what Gandhiji said ‘No good work can suffer for want of funds’... We had 17-18 branches then (1989-90), now in 2007 we have a network of 180 branches.”

“Other than the work of ANS and the weekly Sadhana, I don’t do anything else. This has rendered me a +
+ ...single-minded person. For years, I have not been on the Kabbadi ground, not seen a picture or a play, no outing, not even television. I read only what is needed for my work. This is deliberate atrophy of personality. I’m aware that people close to me are disturbed but
+ ...for the present, at least, I cannot help it. (But) I never feel bored or exhausted. The most significant aspect is that I derive pleasure from it.”

“If I have to take police protection in my own country from my own people, then there is something wrong with me. I’m fighting within the framework of the Constitution of India, and it’s not against anyone but for everyone” is his most oft-repeated quote

The Sanatan Sanstha and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) had been rallying against #NarendraDabholkar and colleagues for years.

The SS website had been carrying prominently a photograph of #NarendraDabholkar with a red circle around it and large X on it. The intent was clear.
After #NarendraDabholkar was assassinated the SS founder said in a statement “...such a death for Dabholkar is a blessing of the Almighty”.

Only 2 days before the assassination, the org mouthpiece had published a caricature showing 3hands (incl of HJS) stabbing the “ANS demon”
However the SS spokesperson stated after the assassination that politicians n detractors were defaming the org. “We are opposed to the Bill,but our opposition is on ideological level,not personal”

Now after 5yrs, knowing the trail goes back,why is SS chief not being questioned?
The Congress in #Maharashtra has gone a step ahead and called for the arrest of the SS chief. Here’s @RVikhePatil , leader of opposition, in the Assembly

It’s worth asking why the Congress when in power from 2013 to 2014, just over a year after #NarendraDabholkar assassination, was unable to move ahead on this.

As usual, Cong leaders fought over bringing a ban on the org. Then CM Prithviraj Chavan hinted that +
+ union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde didn’t do the needful. Shinde hit back saying Chavan had not seriously followed up. “The file never came to me...He (P Chavan) could’ve written to me or made a call. We are both Maharashtrians and belong to the same party.” (Sept 2015)
The SS, acc to Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad, is not a single entity but separate units in every district or city making it difficult to bring in the ban.…
Demands to ban the SS have gathered steam in #Goa after the threats to the life of progressive writer Damodar Mauzo.

The SS is “headquartered” in Goa.

In March 2018, CM @Dev_Fadnavis told the legislature that the ban is “Centre’s jurisdiction”.
Immediately, the SS spokesperson expressed surprise and stated “When Sanatan Sanstha has not been convicted of a even a single offence, where does the question arise?”

Banning the SS won’t be easy. But the evidence in the case of murders of rationalists and writers adds up.
If only the threats were taken more seriously by the then Cong govt, perhaps #NarendraDabholkar might have been with us.

If his assassins and, more imp, masterminds had been nabbed immediately after, perhaps Pansare, Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh wouldn’t have been silenced.
Now as demands for the ban rise, there are counter threats already from that quarter. Predictable.

The terror hasn’t even been called by its name yet, forget a ban.

But if it’s politically expedient, a ban may just happen.

#NarendraDabholkar ‘s fight isn’t finished
It doesn’t end there. Now, there’s info that the SS/HJS allegedly have a list of people they want to get after (eliminate). There’s a diary. There are references. They include a cop who has been investigating the case.

Here’s more…
The Shiv Sena says he’s their former member and has no connection now to the party.

Well, what about this? Shiv Sena MP and Thackeray confidant Anil Desai said Aug 2016 he’d “present Sanatan’s side in Parliament...Hindu Rashtra will be established”
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to smruti
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!