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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2964

Indian Kannada writer and former VC Kalburgi shot dead at home in Karnataka!

By Dr. Abdul Ruff

Criminal politics of Hindutva forces is slowly raising its ugly head in India, starting now with Karnataka state where the BJP party still enjoys large support base. Already “Ghar wapsi” operations, by which Muslims and Christians are converted to Hinduism in open thereby hitting hard the Indian Constitution, have created hurdles in Indian secular fibre which is now under strain. But criminal operations by the Hindutva forces can endanger Indian unity and even sovereignty.

Renowned Indian scholar, former Kuvempu Kannada University VC and Kannada writer MM Kalburgi was shot dead in Dharwad, Karnataka on Sunday morning. According to the report two people came to Kalburgi's resident in Kalyan Nagar, Dharwad and shot him in the head and chest when he opened the door.

M M Kalaburgi, 77, an educationist and veteran researcher of Kannada literature was shot down at around 8.40 AM on Sunday even as his wife who opened the door for the unidentified assailants ventured to the kitchen to fetch the visitors some coffee. She asked the youths who they were and the duo said they were students who had come to meet Kalaburgi

A resident of the Kalyananagar area in Dharwad city the former vice- chancellor was renowned researcher on Vachana Sahitya and ancient Kannada literature.

The commissioner of police for the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad, Ravindra Prasad, said two unidentified persons came to the veteran researcher’s residence on a motorcycle and knocked on his door. “We have taken up a case of murder. The motive for the assassination is not known yet,” the police officer said.

A close friend of the former vice chancellor and a member of the Kannada literary world, Shankar Alagatti, said Kalaburgi’s wife opened the door to the family residence. She went to the kitchen and shortly afterwards she heard loud sounds. When she rushed to the living room she found her husband had been shot in the head. They took him to hospital with the help of the neighbors but he died on the way. “A CBI inquiry must be conducted into the case to bring out the truth. The people and fans of Kalaburgi are demanding this,” said Shankar Alagatti.

Tv9 Kannada reports that wife and his son and daughter were in the house when the attack took place. While his daughter Roopdarshi said that her father's enemies, who opposed what he stood for, pretending to be his students could be behind the death, the police is also looking into property dispute as motive.

Kalburgi has often been the target of Hindutva forces and rightwing parties such as the VHP, ABVP and Bajrang Dal.

According to News Minute's report, in 2014 he stirred controversy when he recounted an anecdote about academician-eminent writer recipient of prestigious Jnanapith award for creative thinking, former Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University and Karnataka Central University, UR Ananthamurthy urinating on a religious idol during his school days.. He was criticised in 2007 for suggesting the need for a better state anthem.

According to the report, writer K Neela said that Kalburgi stood for the secular ethos of the state. Kalburgi was a former vice chancellor of Kannada University in Shimoga and a member of the Advisory Board to the Kannada Sahitya Academy. He was an epigraphist and a scholar of the Vachana literature.

Kalburgi had raised the hackles of some right-wing outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal when he had made certain remarks about idol worship by Hindus that were considered "derogatory" and "blasphemous" by them.

After the news about author Kalburgi audacious murder reached Twitter, Bajrang Dal's Bantwal co-convener Bhuvith Shetty tweeted welcoming the noted scholar's death and even warned another academician of similar fate. Shetty posted the tweet: "Then it was UR Ananthamurthy and now MM Kalburgi. Mock Hinduism and die dogs (sic.) death. And dear KS Bhagwan you are next."

Meanwhile, Shetty, after receiving flak from Twitterati where many believed that the Bajrang Dal was taking responsibility for the incident, deleted the tweet and disabled his twitter handle. Denying that his organisation any role in the murder, he said he vented my anger spontaneously “but that doesn't mean I or people from my organisation have killed Kalburgi. " Regarding the threatening tweet to Bhagwan, he said that Bhagwan should be aware that he could be target for such killing."That doesn't mean that my organisation or I want to kill him," he added.

Bhagwan is retired professor from the Mysore University. He was known was his incisive criticism against Hindutva groups. He recently courted controversy after inviting VHP leader and pontiff Vishveshwara Thirtha Swami for a debate on Hindu scriptures.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that it treated the Kalburgi's murder 'very seriously' and culprits would be traced soon and meted out 'strictest punishment' according to law. As per police, a special team had been formed to investigate the matter and forensic and fingerprint experts have been called in.

Karnataka state was the first state in South India to elect a BJP government but later non-BJ{ parties replaced the BJP. And now Congress party is ruling the state. However, the Hindutva forces in Karnataka are making all out efforts to wrestle power from Congress.

- Asian Tribune -

Former Kuvempu Kannada University VC and Kannada writer MM Kalburgi
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