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3 more Bajrang Dal activist arrested for hate message on MM Kalburgi murder

BENGALURU (TOI): A team of sleuths from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Mangaluru police in coastal Karnataka has taken into custody Prasad Attavar, 38, Bajrang Dal activist, for questioning in connection with last Sunday’s gunning down of Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi in Dharwad. One more was taken into custody already and a third person from Bhatkal is already in the custody of Udupi police, police said.

Image source : brahminterrorism (representational)

Attavar has been in the forefront of the right wing outfit for the last eight years and was involved in the infamous incident of Mangaluru pub attack where girls were beaten up. Attavar in his whatsapp message had thanked the culprit who gunned down the Kannada scholar at his Kalyannagar residence in Dharwad around 8.40 am on Sunday last.

Director general of police Om Prakash told TOI that Attavar had warned those who express hatred towards Hindu Gods and traditions will be taught a lesson in his message that purportedly circulated soon after the murder of Kalburgi, who was former Vice Chancellor of Kannada University at Hampi.
On Prakash also added that one more right wing activist Bhavit Shetty from Bantwal in Mangalore district was also arrested few days back and another person from Bhatkal identified as Shankar Naik is also being questioned by the Udupi district police.

Sources stated that the Whatsapp message thanking the killer stated that “where Tilak is usually applied, the gun shot was hit right at the middle of the temple.” The message had been circulating on an address of ‘Jai Bajrangi’.

77-year-old Kalburgi, a reputed scholar with decades of research work behind him, was gunned down by two bike borne unidentified men who arrived at his Dharwad home and one of them knocked on the writer’s doors. The writer went to speak to the stranger only to be shot point blank on the forehead.

Police suspect right wing extremists to be behind Kalburgi’s murder given the animosities his work had generated. His research work had antagonized Hindu fringe groups and Veerashaiva orthodoxy at various points of time.

Also, the mode of the murder was similar to the one used in the last year’s slaying of rationalist Narendra Dabhokar in Pune and CPI leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur earlier this year, Bike-borne gunmen were involved in all three murders.

A joint team of Hubballi-Dharwad police and CID which is investigating the case claimed that the killing has deep-rooted conspiracy without attributing any motive behind the murder. “We have also sought the cooperation of Maharashtra’s CID officers as they are also investigating killings of Narendra Dabholkar, 65, in Pune on August 20, 2013 and also Govind Pansare, 84, in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015. The CID officer said that both were rationalists and the style they were killed has close similarities.