Pune: It`s been exactly two months this Sunday since the daylight murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in this Maharashtra city but the police are yet to make any headway in nabbing the killers.
Soon after the murder, Pune police released sketches of a couple of suspects and questioned dozens of people but are yet to make any significant breakthrough in their investigations.
Dabholkar, a campaigner against superstition and witchcraft and a medical doctor, social worker and journalist, was shot at close range and killed while on a morning walk near his residence close to the Omkareshwar temple in Pune, around 7.30 am on August 20. The murder created a nationwide furore.
Of the at least four bullets fired, two hit Dabholkar in the neck and back. He succumbed shortly afterwards at the government-run Sassoon Hospital.
Despite Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announcing a reward of Rs.10 lakh for information about the killers the police have had no success in cracking the case.
Soon after the incident, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil vowed that the killers would be nabbed at the earliest.
Thousands of Pune residents will take out a peace march in the city Sunday afternoon demanding immediate police action to nab Dabholkar`s killers.
Dabholkar`s funeral was attended by top dignitaries including Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, R.R. Patil and senior officials.
A rationalist, Dabholkar had rubbed many people the wrong way and had reportedly even received threats. His son Hamid said he refused to register a complaint about the threats, saying he needed no weapons in his cause.
In 1989, he founded the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) with a few like-minded people and raised his voice against superstition, irrational practices, blind faith and beliefs. He confronted dubious tantriks, babas and buas - people who claimed to have supernatural powers and preyed on gullible people.
Dabholkar was instrumental in pushing the state government to frame an anti-superstition law which was finally approved and passed as an ordinance a day after his murder.
The new law seeks to eradicate black magic, blind faith, superstitious beliefs, rituals and sacrifices to drive out evil spirits or ensure a male progeny - perpetrated by self-styled godmen and witchcraft and wizardry practitioners.