Senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru
The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, which has outraged the country, may have been averted if the killings of three rationalists over the last few years had been taken to their logical conclusion, the family of murdered rationalist Narendra Dabholkar has said. Ms Lankesh's brother, Inderjit Lankesh, has called for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is already investigating the murder of Narendra Dabholkar.
Narendra Dabholkar's murder in Pune, in August 2013, had been followed by the shooting of two other rationalists -- of Govind Pansare in February 2015 and MM Kalburgi in Kolhapur in August the same year. The assailants in the first two cases, investigators say, belong to Santan Sanstha, a right-wing organization. No progress has been made in the murder of MM Kalburgi.
"If the murderers and masterminds behind the murder of Dr Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi were arrested in time and brought to book, I am not sure the assassins of Gauri Lankesh would have dared to go ahead with such a heinous act," Narendra Dabholkar's son Hamid Dabholkar told NDTV.
Only one man has been arrested for the murder of Mr Dabholkar -- Dr Virendra Tawde, an ENT specialist, who was named the key conspirator in the case. The three men who allegedly shot him, are on the run.
The arrest was made after the agency -- which took charge of the case in 2014, was severely criticized by the Bombay High Court for shoddy investigation. In March this year, the agency finally announced a Rs 5 lakh reward for information on Dabholkar's assailants.
The man arrested for the murder of Govind Pansare, Samir Gaikwad, has been out on bail since June. Officers of a Special Investigation Team of the Maharashtra Police, which is in charge of the case, say he belongs to the Sanatan Sanstha.
"In the Pansare murder case, once accused has been granted bail and the reach of law seems too weak in such situations," Megha Pansare, Govind Pansare's daughter-in-law said during protests on Wednesday.