Ambedkarite thinker and writer Dr. Krishna Kirwale was stabbed to death at his residence in Kolhapur on March 3. The police has arrested one person but is tight-lipped about the motive behind the murder.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the police found and arrested the suspect within a few hours of the murder. The suspect, Pritam Patil, is also a resident of Kolhapur. Although the police has not officially revealed the motive behind the murder, sources told the paper that the murder could have been the result of a financial dispute between the suspect and Kirwale.
The murder of Kirwale comes two years after the murder of veteran communist leader Govind Pansare, who was also a Kolhapur resident. The Communist Party of India leader was shot by motorcycle-borne masked assailants when he was returning from a morning walk with his wife.
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde condemned Kirwale’s murder and said that the incident shows that the law and order situation in the state has collapsed. “This killing is serious as Kirwale was working in Dabholkar’s movement as well,” he added. Rationalist Narendra Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune in 2013. While the probe in these two activists’ murders has revealed political motives, no such link has emerged so far in Kirwale’s murder.
Born in Beed district, Kirwale had completed his PhD from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in 1987. The 62-year-old Ambedkarite had retired as the Head of Department of Marathi in Shivaji Vidyapeeth only a few months ago. He was also the chief of Dr. Babasaheb Centre for Research and Development. Among his major contributions were the ‘Dictionary of Dalit and Gramin (Rural) Literature’ and a biography of Marathi writer Baburao Bagul. He used to write regularly for newspapers and was known for studying progressive movements and Dalit literature in Maharashtra.
Reacting to the news of his murder, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale said that the government should order a probe into the crime and punish the guilty.