‘Dan­ger­ous’ trend of elim­i­nat­ing op­po­si­tion & lib­eral val­ues: HC

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HC voices con­cern over killings of lib­er­als like Gauri Lankesh

Voic­ing its con­cern over the ‘dan­ger­ous trend’ of tar­get­ting peo­ple who hold ‘lib­eral val­ues and prin­ci­ples,’ the Bom­bay High Court on Thurs­day said that such a ten­dency is bring­ing dis­re­pute to the coun­try. The court even made a ref­er­ence to the shock­ing mur­der of jour­nal­ist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead last month at her res­i­dence in Ben­galuru.

A di­vi­sion bench of Jus­tice Sat­yaran­jan Dhar­mad­hikari and Jus­tice Bharati Dan­gre said, “At present, we can say that there is ab­so­lutely no re­spect for lib­eral val­ues and opin­ions. The ones who be­lieve in lib­er­al­ism are in­creas­ingly be­ing tar­geted for their prin­ci­ples. In the cur­rent sce­nario, we can say that not only thinkers, but any per­son, or rather any 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. This trend of killing any and all op­po­si­tion and lib­eral val­ues is dan­ger­ous. This is bring­ing dis­re­pute to the coun­try,” Jus­tice Dhara­mad­hikari ob­served.

The judges were hear­ing a batch of pe­ti­tions ask­ing the court to mon­i­tor the probe in the mur­der cases of ra­tio­nal­ist Naren­dra Dab­holkar and Govind Pansare.

Dur­ing the course of hear­ing, the CBI and the State ap­pointed Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Team sub­mit­ted their progress re­ports to the judges.

Af­ter pe­rus­ing the re­ports, Jus­tice Dhar­mad­hikari said, “We be­lieve that the ef­forts made by both the agen­cies are gen­uine but the fact is that the main ac­cused are still at large. We have also noted that al­most between ev­ery ad­journ­ment of this case, a pre­cious life is lost. One more such like­minded and pre­cious life was lost last month in Ben­galuru.”

Re­fer­ring to Sarang Akolkar and Vi­nay Pawar, the prime ac­cused who shot Dab­holkar to death, the judges said that if the main ac­cused are not nabbed on time, then there are chances that more such peo­ple can be tar­geted. The judges said, “What is the guar­an­tee more peo­ple would not be tar­geted for their prin­ci­ples in fu­ture? The agen­cies must take this as a chal­lenge since the or­gan­i­sa­tions back­ing the ac­cused are feel­ing em­bold­ened. The agen­cies must try al­ter­ing their line of probe.”

Mean­while, ad­vo­cate Ab­hay Ne­vagi, ap­pear­ing for the Dab­holkar-Pansare fam­i­lies, ar­gued that the agen­cies have not probed the role of the con­tro­ver­sial right wing group – Sanatan Sanstha -- in th­ese killings. Jus­tice Dhar­mad­hikari re­fused to ac­cept the ap­pre­hen­sion of the fam­i­lies and said, “Though we can­not make

pub­lic the con­tents of the re­ports sub­mit­ted be­fore us, but, yes, we can say this much that the agen­cies have ex­am­ined all the an­gles. The agen­cies have not avoided the pos­si­bil­ity of the role of Sanatan Sanstha in th­ese cases.” The mat­ter would now be taken up for hear­ing on De­cem­ber 7.

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