“It is only the building of pressure on the governments and agencies, that is going to ensure an investigation into the functioning of the SS and its affiliates; there is a need for a continuous negotiation with the governments and also the building of pressure groups,” Megha Pansare.
Ms. Pansare who has been fighting against the flourishing Hindutva terrorism in the country has been provided with X grade security by the Maharashtra police. Following the arrest of Parashuram Waghmare by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in Karnataka in relation to the Gauri Lankesh case, Amole Kale an activist of Hindu Janajagruti Sanstha (HJS) was arrested. While the former has confessed to having shot dead the activist-journalist, the SIT recovered a “hit-list” with names of anti-hindutva voices and rationalists from the latter. Ms. Pansare was informed that her name was also on the list.
While the conspirators of the ongoing political assassinations are roaming around freely, the rational voices in the country are being provided security. Explaining the situation, Ms. Pansare said, “I was informed that my name was on the list. I and Hamid Dabholkar went to meet the Additional Superintendent of Police on June 20, 2018. I asked him about this development and he did not have any such information. However, three days later he called me to confirm the information of my name being on the list; and set up a unit of six police personnel from the SP office. The security was tightened. A week after this, Mr. Krishna Prakash of the State Intelligence department from Mumbai, called me to inform that I will be provided with a State Protection Unit person who will be accompanying me everywhere. When I denied, he asked me to take this very seriously and suggested that I should not be moving around alone. I have accepted the security as a precaution.” She also confirmed that Hamid and Mukta Pansare (sister of Comrade Pansare) have been provided with similar security.
An atmosphere of fear has been created across the country. Those raising their voices against the growing terror, atrocities on minorities, prevailing inequalities and advocating rational thoughts are being threatened and killed. Who is behind the killings of the rationalists and anti-hindutva voices is not a question without answer any longer. Credit to the SIT, we now know that the assassinations of Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabholkar and Pansare are the conspiracy of the same group of Hindutva activists affiliated to the SS and Hindu Janajagruti Sanstha (HJS). Despite the speedy investigation, who killed Pansare still remains unanswered.
Ms. Pansare concerned about this and the threat to rational ideology, said, “We are worried because there has been no information about comrade’s killers. Even though they have been telling us that all the murders are linked, they have not arrested anybody yet. It is not a conspiracy of a small group but a large group functioning in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. We are waiting for the revelations in the case of comrade.” Ms. Pansare also noted that the investigation agencies and its officers that she is in touch with have been assuring her that they have been working really hard to solve comrade Pansare’s case.
It is startling to see the same government of Maharashtra, which recognises the conspiracy and the possibility of more attacks, reluctant to investigate the SS and its affiliates.
Amol Kale, an activist of HJS, and Virendra Tawade, the “western commander” of HJS, were named to be the key conspirators in all the four cases; and Sachin Andure, a follower of HJS, and Sharad Kalaskar of HJS have been named as the shooters of Dr. Dabholkar. Post the revelations of the SIT, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has cracked down upon a circuit of terrorist activities seizing explosives in Mumbai and arresting four SS and HJS affiliates in the case of possessing explosives. However, there still have been no arrests in the case of Comrade Pansare.
Surprised by this delay and the arrests by the ATS in the case of explosives, Ms. Pansare asked, “How is it that the active intelligence agencies and officers in the country were not aware of the hoarding of explosives?”. This is indeed a worrisome question. The state government of Maharashtra and the investigative agencies have been extremely slow in the investigation; civil societies in the state, ever since the assassination of Dabholkar in 2013 have been demanding an investigation into the doings of the SS. However, even now, the SS is not being investigated. Why this reluctance towards investigating the SS?
“It is only the building of pressure on the governments and agencies that is going to ensure an investigation into the functioning of the SS and its affiliates; there is a need for a continuous negotiation with the governments and also the building of pressure groups,” said Ms. Pansare. On August 20, 2018, which was the fifth death anniversary of Dabholkar, around a thousand people gathered in Pune and demanded an action against the SS. Tushar Gandhi speaking at the protest accused the governments of saving the SS. There are a series of protests and discussions that are being organised by the civil societies both in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
On August 29, 2018, there is a conference of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in Kolhapur, and Megha Pansare will be participating. Post the conference, she and others will be staging a protest. National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) is organising a national level rally talking to people about the growing intolerance in the country and will be submitting a memorandum to the collector in Kolhapur. Shabnam Hashmi is also organising a jatta. In Karnataka, from August 30 (third death anniversary of M M Kalburgi) to September 5 (first death anniversary of Gauri Lankesh), there are various protests that have been planned.