The Judicial Magistrate First Class Court of Dharwad, Karnataka. according to a report in Kannad daily Prajavani, has given a verbal warning of issuing a notice to the Director General of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka, which is investigating the assassination case of the rationalist M M Kalburgi. The SIT on Thursday, October 17, had produced Ganesh Miskin, Praveen Chature, Amit Baddi, Vasudev Suryavanshi and Sharad Bahu Saheb, but did not produce the main accused, Amol Kale in the court. Noticing the absence of Kale, the Court has asked the public prosecutor to ensure that all those in judicial custody including Amol Kale should be produced in front of the court on October 24, 2019.
Kalburgi, a renowned historian and a scholar of Vachana literature, was shot dead at his residence in Dharwad on August 30, 2015, by two unidentified men. The case was initially handled by the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Karnataka. Four years later, as per the order of the Supreme Court on February 26, 2019, this investigation was transferred to the same SIT that is investigating the assassination case of Gauri Lankesh. The apex court had directed the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka HIgh Court to monitor the SIT investigation.
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It has to be noted that on June 6, 2019, Amol Kale and Praveen Prakash were in fact presented in the court in Dharwad by SIT. Both Kale and Prakash, had said then that the police had made them sign on blank papers. The then presiding judge, D Mamata had said that the Court would not interfere in the investigation process but the concern of the Court is whether the accused are subjected to mental or physical torture by the police. Both the accused, however, had denied any such treatment.
Amol Kale reportedly was an active member of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), a splinter of the Hindu extremist organisation Sanatan Sanstha (SS). He is not accused only in the assassination case of Kalburgi but also in the assassination cases of other rationalists – Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Gauri Lankesh. Kale, along with Rajesh Bangera and Amit Degvekar, were granted bail in the case of Dabholkar by the Pune Sessions Court because the CBI had not filed the charge sheet within the 90-days period. He is currently in a jail in Mysore in relation to the cases of Kalburgi and Lankesh.
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The SIT had recovered a diary from Kale which had two lists containing names of 34 targeted individuals who had publicly condemned Hindutva politics. The first list had eight names. The late playwright and activist Girish Karnad, was the first name, followed by Gauri Lankesh. The second list had 26 other names. KS Bhagwan, BT Lalita Naik, Veerabhadra Channa Mallikarjuna Swamy of Nidumamidi Mutt, CS Dwarakanath, Yogesh Master, Chandrashekhar Patil, Banjagere Jayaprakash, Patil Puttappa, Nataraj Huliyar, Baraguru Ramachandrappa, Chennaveera Kanavi, Narendra Nayak, and S M Jamadar, are some of the literary figures and activists whose names were in these two lists.
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