‘Don’t Crush the soul of freedom’: Shiv Sena Deplores Rationalist-Thinkers’ Killings
In a skirmish within the right wing in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has strongly condemned radical Hindutva outfits for silencing the voice of dissent in the country as evinced by the recent murder of Kannada scholar-rationalist M.M. Kalburgi, The Hindu reports.
In a highly condemnatory article in the party mouthpiece Saamna, Sena leader Sanjay Raut, censuring fringe Hindutva groups, cited the recent murders of rationalist-thinkers Dr. Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, Communist leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur and Mr. Kalburgi in Karnataka as an attack on freedom of speech which was comparable to crushing the “soul of the country’s freedom.”
While Mr. Raut’s article tacitly acknowledges the involvement of Hindutva outfits in all three murders, the piece sidesteps the issue of stifling freedom of speech when Sena activists used violence to browbeat writers and journalists during Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s heyday.
“Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iraq have for long been witness to such killings. If elimination of dissidents is carried out in the country in the name of ‘Hindutva’, then India will forfeit its right to criticise excesses perpetrated by the Taliban,” said the Sena.
The article further went on to condemn “venomous language” used by right-wing outfits to target such scholars-thinkers and remarked that “killing old and unarmed individuals” ought to be seen as a “defeat of the Bhagwat ‘dharma’ and the Hindu religion.”
“It is an act of cowardice. The Hindu religion says that those without weapons should not be attacked,” said the article.
In a pointed attack on the radical right-wing Sambhaji Brigade, the Sena urged Hindu radicals across the State to instead divert their spleen on Hafeez Sayed in Pakistan and the Owaisi brothers in the state, The Hindu reports.