Not just thinkers, but any person or organisation that believes in liberal principles can be targeted.
Mumbai: The "trend of killing all opposition" in India is "dangerous", the Bombay High Court said on Thursday while referring to the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.
The bench added saying, "This trend of killing all opposition is unsafe".
According to an Indian Express report, the court added that today there was no respect for liberal values and opinions. People are increasingly being targeted for their liberal principles...
Referring to Sarang Akolkar and Vinay Pawar, the prime accused who shot Dabholkar to death, the judges said that if the main accused are not nabbed on time, then there are chances that more such people can be targeted. While Dabholkar was shot dead on August 20, 2013, in Pune, Pansare was shot at in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015.
Lankesh was shot by unknown assailants outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5.
Urging the investigating agencies to do more into the two cases, the court said, "The absconding accused has not been traced and one more incident has taken place, which shows rival opinion is not tolerated". The Central Bureau of Investigation investigating the Dabholkar murder case and the Maharashtra Crime Investigation Department investigating the Pansare murder case submitted their reports before a Division Bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre. "Between every adjournment, more precious lives seem to be lost...(a) like-minded person has been killed in Bangalore", the bench added.
The bench noted that the investigative agencies should alter their line of investigation. The HC had earlier asked the central agency to follow the money trail to nab the accused saying a person can not remain in hiding for a long period without institutional and financial support.On Thursday, the bench repeated it advice.
They have organisational backing, funding, technological support, and arms at their disposal. "They have not ignored the possibility of the role of Sanatan Sanstha in the case", the bench said. He succumbed to his injuries on February 20. "This is bringing disrepute to the country", Justice Dharamadhikari observed.
The bench, however, dismissed the apprehensions of Abhay Nevagi, counsel for Dabholkar and Pansare's families, that the agencies were not probing the role of Sanatan Sanstha.