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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 9, February 21, 2015

Govind Pansare succumbs to Cowardly Attack

Monday 23 February 2015

On February 16, motorcycle-borne assailants pumped four bullets on veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare (82) and his wife, Uma (72), when they were returning home from their morning walk in Kolhapur (Maharashta).

An upright, outspoken and ardent advocate of rationalism, Pansare, the Secretary of the CPI’s State unit, was closely associated with anti-superstition activist, Narendra Dabholkar, who was shot dead while on his morning walk in Pune in August 2013. The attacks on both Dabholkar and Pansare bear striking similarities. It is learnt that some months ago Pansare received anonymous threat letters from Pune, saying: “Tumcha Dabholkar Karu (You would also be killed like Dabholkar).” But Pansare ignored such threats and went about his work.

An anti-toll tax campaigner, Pansare wrote a seminal book on Shivaji highlighting Shivaji’s secular outlook and activities (concealed by the Hindutva outfits) that earned him the Hindutvavadis’ ire.

Pansare was battling for his life in hospital after multiple surgeries while his wife seemed to be out of danger. However, as we go to press news has just reached us that the CPI leader eventually succumbed to his injuries late at night on February 20. He has, like Dabholkar, passed into history but his courage will continue to inspire us.