His daughter, Smita, accompanied by Left leaders, met Devendra Fadnavis in his office on Thursday to press for a speedy investigation into the death of the social reformer, who was a committed member of the Communist Party of India. Disappointed with the direction-less investigation, she said, “Fadnavis has taken pride in the progressive and liberal tradition [of Maharashtra], the Shahu-Phule tradition, but when an old warrior doing work to sustain that tradition is killed, he does nothing”.
When she was asked why they had gone to meet the CM Smita replied :
“One month has gone by. That’s quite a long time in a murder investigation, especially because the police seem to have no clues, the probe is going on in a pretty much direction-less manner and nothing of consequence is shared with the family at all. There’s no point in Mr. Fadnavis saying that he has put more than 150 police teams on the job. What have they done? What are they doing? If, with such an enhanced level of investigation, we are no closer to knowing anything more than we did a month back, where is this investigating heading?”
She further says that neither she nor her father’s comrades who accompanied her were satisfied with the reponse they obtained from the CM. “He gave the same cliched replies, there was nothing new” she said.
Remembering how strongly Fadnavis, as Opposition leader had commented when Dabholkar was similarly murdered in Pune Smita Pansare says – “Mr Fadnavis was the leader of opposition when Dr Dabholkar was murdered. He had launched a tirade on the then government and slammed the then chief minister. Pull out his statement and see how he had thundered. Now he is sitting in that chair. What has he done? Why isn’t he even saying this much: “I take responsibility”?
Underlying Smita’s complaints is a sad perception that many liberal minded people and parties in the state are sharing – that these murders are politically motivated and the Govt. has no will to find the murderers.
As his daughter puts it Comrade Pansare was killed for his political thoughts, the work he was doing to spread the progressive ideology and the threat he posed to the establishment or organisations opposed to this ideology. He was killed because he was Comrade Govind Pansare representing a certain progressive and liberal ideology. But the probe is not moving in that direction. And the CM is not pushing it in that direction either. Mr Fadnavis has earlier taken pride in the progressive and liberal traditions, the Shahu-Phule tradition, but when an old warrior doing work to sustain that tradition is killed, he does nothing.
Will Fadnavis heed the daughter’s words and take responsibility?