MM Kalburgi’s wife demands SIT probe into his murder: SC seeks Centre’s response

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud sought the response as Uma Devi demanded a coordinated probe in the killings of Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dobhalkar as the circumstances surrounding them were the same.

Kalburgi was killed on August 30, 2015 in Dharwad in Karnataka and Uma Devi has alleged that the probe by the Karnataka Police had not made any headway.

Uma Devi said the SIT must be headed by a retired judge of the apex court or a High Court. The notice has also been issued to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the National Investigation Agency and the Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa governments.

Speaking at the time of the incident, Dharwad City Police Commissioner Ravindra Prasad had said that two people had arrived at the 77-year-old writer’s Kalyan Nagar residence on a motorcycle in the morning. “They knocked on the door and shot him when he opened the door.” 

Roopadarshi, Kalburgi’s youngest daughter, who was in the house when Kalburgi was shot, said that the writer had not faced threats prior to the murder. 

But the writer, known for his critical writings was threatened by Hindu militants in 1989, for writing a Kannada book they claim blasphemes a 12th century saint. He was given 24-hour protection by police in Dharwad and a group of 43 Kannada writers and academics formed a committee in support of the book.

Meanwhile, in 2007, fellow Kannada writers criticized him for his views on the state anthem naada geete. He had reportedly said: “We have not been able to find a good nada geethe. Some people are of the view that incorporating the names of rivers, saints, religions and writers will make a nada geethe. Is it not possible to produce a better and intense nada geethe?” Currently, the state anthem is Jai Bharata Jananiya Tanujathe, which was composed by one of the finest Kannada writers Kuvempu. Although Kalburgi had not taken any names, a debate had been generated among writers.

Groups such as the VHP, ABVP, Bajrang Dal had filed cases against him and also demanded his arrest for allegedly offending religious sentiments during his speeches. On one occasion, groups of people belonging to these organizations even threw stones and soda bottles at him. Police provided protection to him until Kalburgi himself requested them to withdraw it.

(With IANS inputs)

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