Lok Raj Sangathan condemns the killing of Prof. M M Kalburgi, the noted researcher and Kannada writer known for his progressive views. He was shot down in cold blood at close quarters at his residence on the morning of 30thAug 2015. The killers came into his home acting as students, since his house was known to be open to researchers and students at all times.
Prof. Kalburgi was a great admirer and researcher of the Sharana movement of the 12th century. This was a part of the Bhakti movement and was spearheaded by Basavanna. Prof. Kalburgi wrote extensively about it. The Sharana movement stood for complete dignity of labour, dismantling of caste discrimination, end to gender discrimination and of temple worship and all meaningless rituals. The movement was not only inclusive towards all castes and communities but also put forward an egalitarian economic and social philosophy for society.
His research work on the radical movement of the12th century led Professor Kalburgi to not only take on casteist and conservative forces in general, but also some powerful conservatives among the Lingayat community of Karnataka. A remark made by him about superstition at a public meeting in Bengaluru, organised to discuss the draft anti-superstition bill prepared by the Karnataka government, led to screams from many conservative forces and death threats and cowardly acts of vandalism at his residence last year.
Prof. Kalburgi taught for over three decades at Karnatak University, Dharwad and after that became the vice-chancellor of the Kannada University at Hampi. Post retirement he continued to write and edit profusely.
His killing brings to mind the murder of Dr. Narendra Dhabolkar at Pune, Maharashtra in Aug 2013 in a similar manner. Dr. Dhabolkar was the founder president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, an organisation set up in 1989 to eradicate superstitions prevailing in society. The killers of Dr. Dhabolkar have not been caught even after two years despite persistent demands and petitions by people. People apprehend that the same forces are behind the killing of Prof. Kalburgi and even after two weeks of killing the police claims to have no idea about the culprits.
Maharashtra also saw the killing of a trade union activist and communist, Govind Pansare in Feb 2015 at Kolhapur in a similar manner.
‘Suraksha’ of people of the country is the responsibility of the state but it has completely abdicated this responsibility. On the contrary, it seems to encourage certain forces to take law into their hands and liquidate anybody opposing them. Many people in society are working to get it rid of backward, unscientific thoughts and practices, which are perpetuated and spread by the rulers of today to carry on their rule. Under the guise of protecting ‘religion and culture’, rulers and their political parties are opposing all attempts to spread scientific temper in society. Will the killers ever be apprehended and punished when they seem to have the patronage of the rulers?
Lok Raj Sangathan urges people to unite against all attempts to silence progressive people working for pro-people changes in society, and demands that the killers and the forces behind them are immediately identified and held accountable for their crimes!