Protesters brought out processions here demanding the arrest of the murderers of Left ideologue and former Hampi University vice-chancellor Professor M M Kalburgi.
Kalburgi, a veteran Kannada writer and renowned rationalist, was shot dead last Sunday by an unidentified gun man suspected to be a Hindu fundamentalist.
Tripura Human Rights Organisation and several other Left organisations comprising of students, teachers, scientists, cultural activists and youths participated in protest rallies demanding immediate arrest of the murderers.
The demonstrators alleged that right-wing groups were behind the killing, as he had received threats from Hindutva groups for his statements critical of their politics.
“Hindu terror squad killed him and we are very much afraid of the situation. Hindu terror squads and Muslim terror squads are murdering intellectual and they are trying to strangulate the voice of reason, voice justice. We are here to defend human rights; we are here to defend right to listen, right to speak our mind freely.” said Purushatam Roy Barman, renowned lawyer and human right activist.
“We demand the immediate arrest of those who are responsible for the murder of Kalburgi and their mentors.”
Another protester Akbar Ahamed said, “Religious fundamentalist have become very active in our subcontinent. In Bangladesh, they have murdered Abhijit Ray and other bloggers and rationalists there who are raising their voices against fundamentalists. We are protesting here against this overall situation in our subcontinent. The murderers of M M Kalburgi should be booked and we are demanding for it here.”
The threat to Professor Kalburgi’s life goes back to June 2014 when a case was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by a Hindutva activist against Kalburgi and the late writer UR Ananthamurthy for hurting religious sentiments.
It was filed after Kalburgi made a public statement on June 9, 2014, where he criticised idol worship by quoting a section from Ananthamurthy’s 1996 book Bettale Puje Yake Kadadu (Why offering prayers in the nude is wrong).
The Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Sri Rama Sene held statewide protests after his comments.
Armed policemen posted outside his house were withdrawn around three months ago at the request of the professor.
Kalburgi was a noted epigraphist and a Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer of old Kannada literature. He was born in Yaragal village in Vijayapura district of north Karnataka in 1938.