“We hadn’t expected that he would be killed!” slain rationalist Narendra Dabholkar’s daughter Mukta told Express in an interview. Excerpts:
How has the death of Narendra Dabholkar affected the movement against superstition?
It is a great blow to lose a person like that in the movement. But in the last six years, he was not occupying any formal position in the movement. His idea was that the second generation should take over. He always said, “For how long will I shoulder this movement?” There are people in responsible positions who are trained. Your father faced many threats during his anti-superstition movement...
Yes, but we hadn’t expected that he would be killed! There were assaults, blackening of the face and some fights. But we never expected this.
Does the MANS has plans to expand its activities outside Maharashtra?
As an organised movement, we are not thinking of expanding outside Maharashtra. But in terms of advocacy, training and spreading awareness on superstition, we want to go to other states. It is encouraging to see how states themselves are coming forward, like how Karnataka is working on its own anti-superstition law.
What is the update on the police probe into your father’s killing?
According to the investigators, narrowing down on suspects is very difficult. People whose vested interests are disturbed because our movements are many. We are very unhappy, disturbed and grieved with the slow pace of the investigation.
How is your organisation involved in gathering public opinion to put pressure on the government?
We met Jnanpith award winner U R Ananthamurthy on Wednesday and requested him to write to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to expedite the probe and pass the Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Ordinance. He has agreed.