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India: Comrade Govind Pansare of the CPI shot at in Kolhapur

16 February 2015

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Kolhapur: Two unidentified men fire at CPI leader Govind Pansare, his wife; both critical

by Shawan Sen, CNN-IBN (Feb 16, 2015 at 02:32pm)

Kolhapur: Communist Party leader Govind Pansare is critical after two unidentified bike riders fired at him on Monday morning. He was out in the park along with his wife when the firing took place.

Both he and his wife, who were hit by the gun shots, have been hospitalised and are critical. The couple was returning from their morning walk when the assailants opened fire.

According to Kolhapur Police sources, few people heard the gun shots but no eyewitnesses have come forward as yet.

The couple was returning from their morning walk when the assailants opened fire.

All possible angles including rivalry is being looked at. Pansare was an active member in the anti-toll agitation in Kolhapur in Maharashtra.

Expressing shock over the firing, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, "Deeply shocked on hearing about the heinous attack on Govindji Pansare & his wife. I strongly condemn it. Spoke to Kolhapur SP. Directed SP to speed up the investigation and arrest the assailants. 10 teams would be formed. DG to supervise the investigation. Praying for Govindji Pansare & his wife’s speedy recovery."

Pansare was a known rationalist. Following the death of Narendra Dabholkar, he had stepped up pressure on the government to pass the Anti-Superstition Bill.

He had appealed to workers of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti to remain aggressive in continuing the work of anti-superstition crusader Dabholkar.

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The Indian Express

Kolhapur: Senior CPI leader Govind Pansare, wife shot at by assailants

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Kolhapur | Posted: February 16, 2015

Unidentified persons shot at veteran communist leader Govind Pansare (78) and his wife Uma near their residence in Sagarmala, Kolhapur district of Maharashtra, on Monday morning.

The assailants fled from the spot after the attack. Local residents who heard the gun shots around 8:30 am initially thought it was noise of crackers busted for celebrating victory of India over Pakistan in the World Cup cricket match. But soon some residents found Pansares lying in a pool of blood. They were then admitted to a hospital in Kolhapur for treatment. Pansare’s condition was reported to be critical, but stable. His wife Uma was known to be out of danger.

Pansare is a well known name in the communist movement and is known to be a critic of right wing groups. Police are probing if his speeches, agitations and movement against the opposite ideology has anything do with the attack. So far there is no clue regarding the assailants.

Ankit Goyal, Additional superintendent of Kolhapur police told the Indian Express that both Pansare and his wife were attacked in the morning at Sagarmala. “Police teams are on spot. Assailants have not been identified yet. All angles are being probed. Investigation is on.”

The incident has shaken the social political circles of Maharashtra. It is being compared to the murder on rationalist Dr Narendra Dabholkar in Pune about one and a half year ago. Dabholkar was also shot dead while he was on morning walk on the Omkareshwar bridge on August 20, 2013. Now, Pansare has also been shot at in the morning hours. Doctors have identified a bullet in his chest.

Speaking to news channels, chief minister of state Devendra Fadnavis condemned the attack and said that he has asked the superintendent of Kolhapur police for carrying out detail probe into this case and find out the assailants.

Social activist Medha Patkar said,”Assailants should be arrested and it should be probed whether there is any common link with attack on Comrade Pansare and Dr Dabholkar’s murder. Police should probe the speeches given by Pansare in the recent times and other aspects.”

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar told media it is sad that progressive persons like Dabholkar and Pansare are being attacked in progressive state like Maharashtra. “In depth investigation should be done,” he said.

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Widespread protests against attack on Pansare
TNN | Feb 17, 2015, 12.31 AM IST

PUNE/NASHIK/AURANGABAD: The attack on leftist leader Govind Pansare and his wife on Monday evoked strong reactions across the state.

Social activists and members of progressive organizations staged a huge protest outside the district collector’s office in Pune and demanded immediate arrest of the attackers. They expressed deep shock over the incident and also raised the question if Maharashtra was still a progressive state, given the repeated attacks on rationalists, thinkers and RTI activists.

City CPI chief Ajit Abhyankar said, "There has been a series of attacks in the recent past.

It is more disturbing that the government and police have not been able to arrest the culprits despite having been given various inputs. It is high time the police and the administration takes serious steps to stop such incidents," Abhyankar said.

Senior activist Vidya Bal said that the government needs to take a firm stand to prevent such incidents and can prove that it backs progressive thought by arresting the culprits.

Senior leader Shantabai Ranade said, "Bullets cannot be a solution. There can be debates over differing thought. It is disappointing that no serious action is being taken against people who are involved in these acts."

Kailas Kadam, president of the joint action committee of labour organizations said the attack was an attempt to divide the society over religion and thought. "Police need to prevent such attempts to maintain harmony," he said. Kadam also threatened to resort to a strong agitation if the government failed to make any arrests in the case.

Rasta roko at Meher signal in Nashik to protest against Pansare attack. (TOI photo: Aditya Waikul)

Social leader Pratima Pardeshi said that the government was not serious about such incidents. The government needs to keep tab on anti-social activities, she added.

In Nashik, members from political parties and NGOs blocked the road near Meher signal for one-and-a-half hours as a mark of protest and demanded a detailed inquiry into the attack. Police detained 30 members of the crowd at Sarkarwada police station under the Bombay Police Act. They were later released.

Farmers’ organisations, workers’ unions and others joined the rally.

"First, it was Narendra Dabholkar and now it is Pansare. Those who are doing good work are being targeted. We want a proper inquiry and punishment of the real culprits. The inquiry should not be like that in Dabholkar’s case," said Jitendra Bhave, one of the protesters.

CPI supporters stop the car of Maharashtra home minister Ram Shinde during a protest to condemn the attack on veteran Communist leader Govind Pansare, in Kolhapur. (PTI photo)

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad also condemned the act.

In Aurangabad, playwright Ajit Dalvi said Monday’s attack and Dabholkar’s murder were a sign of "proxy war" against progressive thought in Maharashtra. "Dabholkar’s killers are still at large and it has boosted the morale of fundamentalists," he said.

Activist and AAP leader Subhash Lomte said fundamentalists have tried to eliminate Pansare as they could not defeat him in battle of ideologies. He demanded that the culprits be nabbed to prove that the rule of law exists in the state.

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Daily News and Analysis - 17 February 2015

Peon to professor to bestselling author, Comrade Govind Pansare a left-wing stalwart

by Dhaval Kulkarni

Comrade Pansare, who is associated with the Left since his school days, is known for his strident advocacy of peoples’ movements and for the book ’Shivaji Kon Hota?’ (Who was Shivaji?) This book, which was originally a speech delivered in May 1987, has sold over a lakh copies in many languages and is counted as a runaway success.

Comrade Pansare, who is associated with the Left since his school days, is known for his strident advocacy of peoples’ movements and for the book ’Shivaji Kon Hota?’ (Who was Shivaji?) This book, which was originally a speech delivered in May 1987, has sold over a lakh copies in many languages and is counted as a runaway success.

In this handy primer for progressive activists to counter propaganda, Pansare laid down an alternate postulation of the warrior-king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as a founder of a pro-people welfare state. This is major intellectual break from the views of Hindutva outfits who used the icon to target Muslims or Maratha extremist organisations like the Sambhaji Brigade who used Shivaji Maharaj to turn the tables on Brahmins.

In his seminal work, Pansare has pointed out that Shivaji was a secular ruler whose top generals and associates were Muslims. Shivaji also respected women, abolished serfdom, framed pro-farmer policies, took on established interests, and appointed Dalits and backward classes to prominent positions.

Unlike many xenophobic leaders who target Brahmins across the board, Pansare pointed out that Brahminism or Brahmanya was a "disease" which consisted of hating others and considering oneself supreme regardless of flaws, which was not peculiar to the Brahmins but also affected other castes.

A prolific author who has also penned books on Marxism, Muslims, reservations, Rajarshi Shahu, globalisation and agriculture, Pansare is different from classical mainstream leftists as he matched this intellectual grist with action on the ground.


Born on November 26, 1933, at Kolhar in Ahmednagar’s Srirampur taluka, Pansare’s family lost their farmland to moneylenders. Though his mother Harnabai worked as a farm hand and father Pandharinath did small jobs, the family lived in poverty. Pansare, the last among five children, also headed the socialist Rashtra Seva Dal (RSD) shakha in his village. His parents, particularly his mother, wanted to educate him and Pansare took admission to a high school in Rahuri aided by local RSD worker Govind Patki.

Pansare came into contact with the Communists during his school days, campaigned for CPI leader P.B Kadu Patil in the assembly elections and later shifted to Kolhapur for education with Patki who hailed from the district.

He studied at the Rajaram College in Kolhapur, staying at The Republic Bookstall run by Leftists in Bindu chowk and read works by Communist icons like Lenin. He also worked as a newspaper vendor, a peon in the municipality’s octroi department, primary teacher and later served as associate professor in the Shivaji University for a decade.

Participation in public movements
After his BA (honors), he studied law at the Shahaji Law college, and practised labour law since 1964, participating in the Samyukta Maharashtra and Goa freedom struggles. He was arrested during the 1962 India-China war as part of the crackdown against Communists who were seen as pro-China. Pansare was also active in labour movements, heading unions for hawkers, grain mill workers, mechanical and engineering workers, farm labourers and slum dwellers. After the undivided CPI split in 1964, he chose to stay with the parent party.

He was the state secretary of the CPI, a member of the party’s national executive and also runs a centre for couples desiring intercaste and interfaith marriages. His three children including son Comrade Avinash (Avi) who was active in the Left movement but passed away at a young age, have gone in for inter-caste marriages.

However, despite spending a lifetime in the Left, Pansare has pointed to the flaws of the party, ruing that the Communists had failed to take over the intellectual mantle of a system-builder such as Mahatma Phule.

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CPDR Condemns Cowardly Attack on Govind Pansare and Uma Pansare

Mumbai (16th February 2015/Press Statement) : We are deeply shocked by the news this morning that some unknown assailants fired upon a senior communist leader Govind Pansare and his wife, Mrs. Uma Pansare near their residence in Kolhapur. They were on their usual morning walk when reportedly bike-borne assailants fired five gunshots at the couple. Three bullets hit Com. Pansare and one his wife. People found them in a pool of blood, when they were rushed to a private hospital. The assailants had fled the scene after the incident.

This is an exact repeat of the murder of Narendra Dabholkar in Pune on 20 August 2013. Despite nationwide public outcry over his heinous murder, the Maharashtra Police could not apprehend the culprits.

Com Govind Pansare is a face of progressive opinion in Maharashtra for the last several decades. He had been in forefront in several people’s struggle, the latest being the agitation against the toll. He was outspoken critique of the increasing communalism in politics and anti-people policies of the government and has written popular books to educate masses. His book on Shivaji, countering a communal portrayal of Shivaji had run in several editions.

There is growing lawlessness in Maharashtra by the casteist and communalist elements. The present Hindutva dispensation in power in Maharashtra clearly appears to have emboldened them to go berserk killing people who are critical of them. They want to terrorize progressive Maharashtra by such cowardly acts. Sadly they do not understand that they are strengthening the resolve of millions of Maharashtrians to defeat them.

We pray Com Pansare and his wife get well soon to their active public life.

We demand the Maharashtra government to apprehend the murderers soon and dispel the apprehension in peoples mind that it is sheltering them.


Dr Anand Teltumbde
General Secretary
CPDR, Maharashtra