MUMBAI: Maharashtra today observed a bandh, following a call from the Left parties, to protest the cold-blooded murder of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare.
The Opposition Congress and the NCP have also declared their support for the Left-sponsored protest. RPI leader Ramdas Athawale participated in a 'rasta roko' at suburban Chembur here today to support the bandh and the Left workers held a protest at Worli Naka.
Meanwhile, Kolhapur police have announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for anyone who provides information about Pansare's assailants.
The 78-year-old Communist leader's mortal remains were consigned to flames in his hometown Kolhapur yesterday in the presence of a large number of his friends, supporters and admirers. However, no religious rituals were performed at the funeral.
Neither state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis nor any central Left leader attended the funeral. Fadnavis said in Nashik yesterday that Pansare's murder was a challenge to the system. "It is not an attack on an individual. It is not an attack on an ideology. It is a challenge to the system," he said.
Two motorcycle-borne assailants had shot at Pansare and his wife Uma on February 16 near their residence in Kolhapur when the couple was returning from morning stroll. Pansare, who was hit by three bullets, succumbed to injuries at Breach Candy Hospital late on Friday. Uma is presently recuperating in a Kolhapur hospital.
The police have formed 20 teams to nab the attackers, but there has been no breakthrough so far.