This Article is From Sep 02, 2015

After Professor Kalburgi Murder, Exhibit A is Police Inertia

File photo of Professor MM Kalburgi

New Delhi: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in a show of respect, was present at Monday's funeral of one of Karnataka's most eminent scholars, Professor MM Kalburgi; the politician promised swift, fearless action against those who shot and killed the 77-year-old at his home in Dharwad on Sunday.

But three days later, doubts remain over the sincerity of that claim. It has taken more than 72 hours for the police to release sketches of the two suspected killers of Professor Kalburgi, despite the police claiming that the scholar's wife came face-to-face with the shooter just moments before he pulled the trigger.

Another standard policing measure too seems absent - to question those who led protests against Professor Kalburgi last year when his comments critiquing idol worship and other religious beliefs enraged some right-wing Hindu groups and sections of his own community, the Lingayats. The protests appeared so menacing that they led to the professor being  given security by the police.

Those protests, spearheaded by the local wing of the BJP and a host of Hindutva outfits are at odd with their posthumous respect for Professor Kalburgi.

In a June 2014 video, BJP protesters in Bangalore are seen and heard calling Professor Kalburgi anti-national,  anti-Hindu, and a liar. They repeatedly ask for his arrest. Placards at the meeting ask for him to be thrown out of the country. A separate image shows BJP protestors even staging mock shradhh (post-death rituals) for Professor Kalburgi. There were similar demonstrations in Dharwad.

A BJP leader seen in the Dharwad protests, Mohan Ramadurg, said that the police have not sought information from his colleagues or him.

The police when asked about the sense of inertia on multiple fronts say they are busy with other duties. Most senior officers supervising the investigation have been enlisted for managing farmers' protests in Dharwad and Hubli over a water dispute.

But Roshan Baig, Information Minister in the Congress government, claims there is no go-slow, and that the investigation is being monitored very closely.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department took over the Kalburgi investigation from the local police.