BENGALURU: A CID probe was today announced by the Karnataka Chief Minister into the murder of progressive Kannada thinker and scholar M M Kalburgi at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka.
"We have decided to hand over the case to CID.... This incident should not have happened. It is highly condemnable," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters here, a day after Kalaburgi was shot dead at point-blank range by two unidentified men.
77-year-old Kalburgi was an associate of rationalist Govind Pansare of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, who also fell victim in similar circumstances in February, and had drawn the ire of some right-wing Hindu outfits like VHP and Bajrang Dal with his remarks about idol worship by Hindus.
He had often spoken against superstitions and courted controversies with his outspoken stand.
At Dharwad this morning, hundreds of admirers of Kalburgi paid last respects to him. The funeral will take place later in the day today.
Yesterday, the attackers had knocked at the door of Kalburgi's house claiming to be his students and as it was opened, they pumped bullets into his forehead and chest and fled. He died in a hospital.
"Whoever is behind this, we will catch them and punish according to law," said the Chief Minister, who visited Dharwad to pay last respects to Kalburgi yesterday.
Asked if the sleuths have got any clues, Home Minister K J George said the probe was being started. "It will be investigated from all angles."
The Hubli-Dharwad police had announced a special team to probe the murder that has shaken the Kannada literary world.
Kalburgi had raised the hackles of right-wing outfits when he made certain remarks about idol worship by Hindus that were considered "derogatory" and "blasphemous" and also led to protests by them.
A winner of central and state "Sahitya Akademi" awards, he had also suggested the need for a better state anthem.
Part of his works on "Vachana"(verses)" literature had also come under criticism of the state's majority "veerashaiva" (Lingayat) community, a liberal Shaivism founded by 12th century philosopher, poet and social reformer Basaveshwara.