MM Kalburgi’s murder: Bajrang Dal leader arrested,CID probe ordered by Karnataka

Dharwad(PTI): A CID probe was on Monday announced by the Karnataka Chief Minister into the murder of progressive Kannada thinker and scholar M M Kalburgi at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka.

MM Kalburgi

“We have decided to hand over the case to CID…. This incident should not have happened. It is highly condemnable,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters, a day after Kalaburgi was shot dead at point-blank range by two unidentified men.

Bajrang Dal leader Bhuvith Shetty who had tweeted welcoming the death of the MM Kalburgi has been arrested by the Mangalore Rural Police, ANI reported. Shetty had written in the tweet: “Then it was UR Ananthamurthy and now MM Kalburgi. Mock Hinduism and die dogs (sic.) death. And dear KS Bhagwan you are next.”

Responding to the tweet from Bajrang Dal co-convener Bhuvith Shetty, KS Bhagwan said, “I got to know through the press, I feel sorry for such persons. At this juncture, I request the government to view this matter very seriously and round up the miscreants and take suitable action.”

“Kalburgi was a great scholar of Karnataka, he used to say to me that we sail in the same boat,” ANI quoted the writer as saying.

77-year-old Kalburgi was an associate of rationalist Govind Pansare of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, who also fell victim in similar circumstances in February, and had drawn the ire of some right-wing Hindu outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal with his remarks about idol worship by Hindus. He had often spoken against superstitions and courted controversies with his outspoken stand.

At Dharwad on Monday morning, hundreds of admirers of Kalburgi paid last respects to him. Sunday morning, the attackers had knocked at the door of Kalburgi’s house claiming to be his students and as it was opened, they pumped bullets into his forehead and chest and fled. He died in a hospital.

“Whoever is behind this, we will catch them and punish according to law,” said the Chief Minister, who visited Dharwad to pay last respects to Kalburgi on Sunday. Asked if the sleuths have got any clues, Home Minister K J George said the probe was being started. “It will be investigated from all angles.”

The Hubli-Dharwad police had announced a special team to probe the murder that has shaken the Kannada literary world. Kalburgi had raised the hackles of right-wing outfits when he made certain remarks about idol worship by Hindus that were considered “derogatory” and “blasphemous” and also led to protests by them.

A winner of central and state “Sahitya Akademi” awards, he had also suggested the need for a better state anthem. Part of his works on “Vachana”(verses)” literature had also come under criticism of the state’s majority “veerashaiva” (Lingayat) community, a liberal Shaivism founded by 12th century philosopher, poet and social reformer Basaveshwara.

The murder of Kalburgi has prompted the state police to provide security to some noted litterateurs, including Jnanpeeth award winner Girish Karnad and S L Byrappa, who have often faced the anger of some groups for their views on different issues.

Meanwhile, a Bajrang Dal local activist was arrested on Monday by Bantwal police in Dakshina Kannada district for allegedly posting remarks on Twitter threatening writer K S Bhagwan for his ‘derogatory’ remarks on the Bhagavad Gita. Bajrang Dal co-convener Bhuvith Shetty was arrested after a case was registered against him, police said.

Bhagwan had drawn the wrath of right-wing activists after he allegedly disparaged the Bhagawad Gita while speaking at a programme in Mysuru in February this year. The Mysuru police had strengthened security outside the residence of Bhagwan in Kuvempunagar. Shetty’s tweet targeting Bhagwan for making “fun” of Hinduism had gone viral after it was circulated through Whatsapp. Shetty later deleted the post but screen shots of the tweet had already been circulated.

Superintendent of Police S D Sharanappa said a suo motu case had been registered under section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and section 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
Kalburgi was an associate of rationalist Govind Pansare of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, who also fell victim in similar circumstances in February, and had drawn the ire of some right-wing Hindu outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal with his remarks about idol worship by Hindus. He had often spoken against superstitions and courted controversies with his outspoken stand.

Yesterday, the attackers had knocked at the door of Kalburgi’s house claiming to be his students and as it was opened, they pumped bullets into his forehead and chest and fled. He died in a hospital. Kalburgi had raised the hackles of right-wing outfits when he made certain remarks about idol worship by Hindus that were considered “derogatory” and “blasphemous” and also led to protests by them. A winner of central and state “Sahitya Akademi” awards, he had also suggested the need for a better state anthem.

Part of his works on “Vachana”(verses)” literature had also come under criticism of the state’s majority “Veerashaiva” (Lingayat) community, a liberal Shaivism founded by 12th century philosopher, poet and social reformer Basaveshwara.