Trend of killing all op­po­si­tion is dan­ger­ous: HC

Millennium Post - - NATION - OUR COR­RE­SPON­DENT

MUM­BAI: The Bom­bay High Court on Thurs­day ob­served that there has been a "dan­ger­ous trend" of elim­i­nat­ing all op­po­si­tion and lib­eral val­ues, which is giv­ing the coun­try a bad name, while ap­par­ently re­fer­ring to the killing of jour­nal­ist Gauri Lankesh in Ben­galuru.

The ob­ser­va­tion was made by a bench of Jus­tices S C Dhar­mad­hikari and Bharati Dan­gre while hear­ing a pe­ti­tion seek­ing that the court mon­i­tor the probes into the killing of ra­tio­nal­ists Govind Pansare and Naren­dra Dab­holkar.

"There is no re­spect for lib­eral val­ues and opin­ions.

Peo­ple are in­creas­ingly be­ing tar­geted for their lib­eral prin­ci­ples. Not just thinkers, but any per­son or or­gan­i­sa­tion that be­lieves in lib­eral prin­ci­ples can be tar­geted. It's like if there is some op­po­si­tion to me, I must have that per­son elim­i­nated (sic)," the court said.

"This trend of killing all op­po­si­tion is dan­ger­ous. This is giv­ing a bad rep­u­ta­tion to the coun­try," the bench ob­served.

While the Cen­tral Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) and the Ma­ha­rash­tra Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment (CID) sub­mit­ted their probe re­ports in the Dab­holkar and Pansare mur­ders re­spec­tively, the bench noted that the progress made by the au­thor­i­ties so far had failed to yield any con­crete re­sults.

"While your (probe agen­cies') ef­forts are gen­uine, the fact re­mains that the prime ac­cused are still ab­scond­ing. And between ev­ery ad­journ­ment in the case, one more pre­cious life is be­ing lost," the bench said.

"One more pre­cious life was lost last month when in an un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent, a lib­eral, like-minded per­son was killed in Ben­galuru," the court pointed out.

"What's the guar­an­tee that more peo­ple will not be tar­geted for their be­liefs and prin­ci­ples in the fu­ture? If the ac­cused per­sons and or­gan­i­sa­tions are feel­ing em­bold­ened, then the probe agen­cies should take that as a chal­lenge," the bench said.

"The probe agen­cies should al­ter their line of in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and make use of tech­nol­ogy to nab the killers for it's ap­par­ent that the ac­cused per­sons are smart op­er­a­tors. They have or­gan­i­sa­tional back­ing, fund­ing, tech­no­log­i­cal sup­port, and arms at their dis­posal," the court noted.

The bench was re­fer­ring to the fact that Sarang Akolkar and Vi­nay Pawar, the two men iden­ti­fied by the CBI as those who gunned down Dab­holkar in 2013, are yet to be traced.

The court, how­ever, dis­missed the ap­pre­hen­sions of the coun­sel for the fam­i­lies of Dab­holkar and Pansare that the agen­cies were not prob­ing the role of right wing group Sanatan Sanstha in the killings.

"While the court can't make de­tails of the probe pub­lic, we can say this much that the probe re­ports have ex­am­ined all an­gles. They have not ig­nored the pos­si­bil­ity of the role of Sanatan Sanstha in the case," the bench said.

Dab­holkar was shot dead on Au­gust 20, 2013, in Pune while on his morn­ing walk. Pansare was shot at on Fe­bru­ary 16, 2015 in Kol­ha­pur and suc­cumbed to in­juries on Fe­bru­ary 20.

The court is hear­ing pe­ti­tions filed by the kin Dab­holkar and Pansare, urg­ing it to mon­i­tor the in­ves­ti­ga­tions in both the cases.

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