Narendra Dabholkar, leading anti-superstition campaigner of India, social worker and journalist, was gunned down in Pune by unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants on 20th august, 2013.
The attack took place around 7.30 a.m.IST near Omkareshwar Temple, when Dabholkar, in his 60s, was on his morning walk. The two gunmen fired indiscriminately at Dabholkar and sped away, leaving him in a pool of blood. The assailants fired four rounds at him from a point blank range and fled on a motorcycle parked nearby.Two bullets hit Dabholkar in his head and chest.
Narendra Dabholkar born on November 1945 was an Indian rationalist and author from Maharashtra. He was the founder-president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), an organization set up to eradicate superstition. He was a doctor, having obtained an MBBS degree from the Miraj Medical College, Miraj. After working as a general practitioner for over a decade, Dabholkar became a social worker in the 1980s.
Gradually, Dabholkar started focusing on eradication of superstition, and joined the Akhil Bharatiya Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ABANS). In 1989, he founded the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti ("Committee for Eradication of Superstition in Maharashtra"), and campaigned against superstitions, confronting dubious tantriks and holy men. Over the years, Dabholkar had also challenged some of India's "godmen", self-styled Hindu ascetics who have huge followings, over their claims to have performed miracles.
He also campaigned against animal sacrifices during some religious rituals.He was the founding member of Parivartan, a rehabilitation centre located in Satara. Dabholkar was the editor of a renowned Marathi weekly Sadhana.
In the 2010s, Dabholkar made attempts to get an anti-superstition law enacted in the state of Maharashtra. Under his supervision, the MANS drafted the Anti-Jaadu Tona Bill (Anti-Black magic Bill). It was opposed by certain Hindu extremist organizations. It was also opposed by the political parties like Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena on the grounds that it would adversely affect Hindu culture, customs and traditions. A couple of weeks before his death, Dabholkar had complained that the bill had not been discussed despite being tabled in seven sessions of the state assembly. He accused the chief minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Prithviraj Chavan of stifling progressive thought in the state.
As the General secretary of Science and Rationalists Association of India, I vociferously condemn the incident & demand immediate arrest & punishment of the delinquents and appeal to each & every like-mined/ democracy adoring citizens/ associations all over India & abroad to raise their voice of protest against such dreadful crime.