While Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist, was murdered in Pune in August 2013, CPI leader Pansare was murdered in Kolhapur in February 2015. Maharashtra police have arrested one person in Pansare case, while CBI has failed to make any arrest in the Dabholkar murder case.
"It has been 32 months since Dabholkar was murdered and 16 months since Pansare was murdered. However, there is no concrete development in both cases. It seems the government is not serious enough to solve them," said Shaila Dabholkar, Narendra Dabholkar's wife.
If the government did not take murders of rationalists seriously, India would have the same situation as in the neighbouring Bangladesh where secular bloggers and activists were being killed with impunity, she said. Hamid Dabholkar, the murdered rationalist's son, said the family had sought a meeting with the Prime Minister.
"Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had assured us that he would facilitate a meeting with the honourable PM, however, to date, we have not succeeded (in meeting the PM)," he said. Pansare's wife Uma said the Maharashtra police's SIT arrested Sameer Gaikwad, former follower of the conservative Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha, in connection with the murder, but then the probe stalled, showing lack of political will to take it to the conclusion.
"SIT officers do not have time to look after the case, so despite having evidence against Gaikwad, the probe has slowed down," she alleged. "Now they are framing charges against Gaikwad...with incomplete evidence, he might be acquitted," she said. The question, therefore, arises whether the state government was shielding the masterminds of the murder, she said.