Bengaluru: Why is the murder of Professor M M Kalburgi not a state subject?

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Bengaluru, Oct 30: In a country which has seen debates galore over the powers of the state in handling law and order, it comes as a surprise that the union government is being blamed for the murder of Professor M M Kalburgi.

The killing of Kalburgi a self styled rationalist has been in the headlines for too long now and instead of questioning the speed of the probe under the Karnataka government, awards are being returned blaming the centre.

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The probe into the killing of Kalburgi is with the state of Karnataka. A special investigating team is looking into the murder of Kalburgi which occurred two months back and today as we speak to the officers, they say that there is no concrete lead.

The only thing that the police say is that the murder of Kalburgi points towards one organization.

Does Congress benefit from a slow probe?

It is quite surprising that amidst all this outrage, Siddaramaiah the Chief Minister of Karnataka has done little to pull up his officers seeking quick results.

This brings us to the very pertinent question, is Siddaramaiah and the Congress benefitting due to the slow progress of the probe? Most likely since not a single question has raised against the Congress government in Karnataka which is solely responsible for this probe.

When Kalburgi was murdered, many of us felt that the probe would be wound up in quick time. Siddaramaiah is the only Chief Minister of Karnataka to have broken tradition and met with writers and intellectuals just after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister.

All other Chief Ministers have met with religious leaders and pontiffs after being administered oath of office. It was only natural for Siddaramaiah to ensure that the matter was probed in quick time so that the family of the deceased attained a closure.

Moreover, it would have also sent a very strong message that such intolerance would not be allowed in a state which is run by a Chief Minister who sought the blessings of writers after taking oath.

Karnataka withdrew Kalburgi's security:

When Professor Kalburgi was murdered, the first question that came to mind was why was the security of such a controversial person withdrawn? It came as quite a surprise that the security of the writer was withdrawn just a couple of months before the murder.

The Karnataka government went on to clarify that it was Kalburgi himself who had written for the security to be withdrawn.

Moreover, his daughter too had said that her father had asked for the security to be withdrawn. While this may be a justified explanation, the Karnataka government cannot take cover under the fact that the security was withdrawn just because the person had asked for it.

There were enough and more intelligence alerts suggesting that Kalburgi's life was under immense threat.

In matters of security, it is the state which should have rejected the letter written by Kalburgi citing a threat. It is the discretion of the state government whether or not to withdrawn security.

The probe.........

Like most of the probes, this one too has been extremely slow. For starters the probe began with numerous contradictions.

The police first said that there was no CCTV footage. However, a few days later they claimed that they had footage showing two persons speeding away on a bike after murdering Kalburgi not before signaling to a person waiting in a car as if to suggest that the job had been done.

A few days later sketches were released, but like in all other cases, no one came forward to give any information as sketches are always wrong.

In such high profile cases, the exit points of a city are normally sealed off in a bid to stop the killer from getting out.

However, this was not done in this case. The hunt for the accused persons itself took sometime to commence which may have given the killers ample time to make an exit.

After two long months, the investigating agency has told the Chief Minister that there has been no lead in the case.

The Chief Minister who has been very quick to hand over cases to the CBI has chosen not to do so in this case although it has an inter-state ramification.

It has been more or less ascertained that it is the same gang which carried out the killing of Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

Instead the Karantaka government felt it would be apt to coordinate with the Maharashtra police instead.

Any case which has an inter-state ramification is extremely difficult for the police to probe. When they visit another state, there are various issues that crop up right from red tape to logistics, which automatically slows down the probe.

Siddaramaiah who was quick to hand over the D K Ravi case to the CBI under pressure however chose not to do the same in the case of Kalburgi.

The mysterious body:

While the police do not have one single lead in the case, they are however, now saying that the murder could be the handiwork of an organization.

They also say that the man who could have plotted this murder was a person by the name Rudra Patil a resident of Belagavi.

A couple of days back, an unidentified body was found in Khanapur, Belagavi which resembled Patil. The police say that this man was killed on October 18th. If it ascertained that this man is Patil, then it brings about a closure to the Kalburgi case.

The police instead decided to bury the body and now want to exhume it.

The exhumation process is likely to take place either today or tomorrow as the police now want DNA samples. It is quite surprising why the police did not decide to obtain the DNA samples on the day the body was found.

There was also a great deal of confusion on how they would match the DNA samples. Journalists were aware that Patil's parents were alive and in Belagavi, but the police took almost four days to realize that.

The big question is will the police speed up the process of confirming that the body is that of Patil's? If they do then the probe comes to a close and we can expect the award wapsis to stop. However for now, the police are tight lipped an when contacted say that it may be his body, but we cannot confirm anything.

A gentle reminder:

Many have decided to target the union government in the Kalburgi case. They have said that the atmosphere in the country is not safe and hence were returning their awards while extensively citing the Kalburgi case. A gentle reminder about the law of the land:

Public Order' and `Police' figure as entries 1 and 2 respectively in the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

Each State has, therefore, exclusive power to legislate in regard to its police system and also has full administrative control over the police in the State.

The Central Government can exercise similar power in regard to `Public Order' and `Police' in the Union Territories only.

Under entry 80 of the Union List, the Centre has powers to extend the jurisdiction of the members of the police force of one State to another State, but it can be done only with the consent of the latter State.

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