AISA expresses deep condolences at the passing away of veteran CPI leader and a pioneer of rationalist movement in Maharashtra Com. Govind Pansare. Com. Pansare was in a critical state since last 16 Feb, when two unknown assailants fired at him and his wife in front of their house in Kolhapur district, when the two were returning home after their daily morning walk from Shivaji University in Kolhapur. Com. Pansare was hit by bullets on his neck and another went brushing his hand, his wife Uma suffered a single bullet injury. Com. Pansare succumbed to the injury on Friday night (20 Feb), due to bleeding in lungs.
Com. Pansare, was a highly respected political figure in Maharashtra, a committed communist who took on the right wing forces all through. In 1984, he wrote a popular book called Shivaji Kon Hota (Who was Shivaji) on Chatrapati Shivaji where he forcefully argued against the communal misuse of Shivaji by the saffron brigade. The book has been translated into many languages including Kannad, Urdu, Gujrati, English and Hindi languages. He was a close associate of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, who too was killed almost in a similar manner by assailants in 2013. Following Dabholkar’s gruesome murder, Com. Pansare had stepped up pressure on the government for the passage of the Anti-Superstition Bill. Com. Pansare has been associated with various social movements of farm laborers, domestic helps, auto-rickshaw union, milk producers, slums and others. Ever since the Modi government came to power in May last year, he relentlessly campaigned against the communal outfits. He spoke forcefully against the saffron brigade’s two-pronged strategy of using Gandhi’s name and, at the same time, glorifying Nathuram Godse.
It is a common knowledge to the people of Kolhapur how some of the saffron outfits have been disrupting his programs for over past six months on various issues. Some days before he was shot dead, he was threatened and abused for speaking against the glorification of Nathuram Godse at a gathering. Recently, he was leading an anti-toll agitation in Kolhapur.
In past three years, there have been a spate of deadly attacks on the social activists and intellectuals in Maharashtra. Apart from the gruesome killing of Dr. Dabholkar, RTI activist Satish Shetty was murdered in Pune for exposing land grab. The murderers of Dabholkar are still ‘absconding’ and there is no progress in CBI investigation in Shetty’s case! Given the character of Maharashtra’s political dispensation, it is anybody’s guess whether there will be any justice for Com. Pansare’s either.
Democratic forces must unite for ensuring justice for Com. Pansare and all other cases of targeted political killing. Com. Pansare’s murder must once again steel the resolve of all democracy loving people to rise up against and fight the political mafiadom and communal hate with all our might.