The Karnataka police have released a sketch of two suspects who they believe shot Kannada writer MM Kalburgi to death on Sunday.
Two days after the writer was shot dead in his house in Dharwad district, the CID on Wednesday released a sketch of two suspects who they believe shot Kalburgi. Information regarding the suspects can be given to the police by calling the following numbers: Vidyagiri Police Station, Dharwad 0836-2233513 and 9480802034; Dharwad City Control Room 0836-2233555.
On Monday, the state government handed over charge of the investigation to the CID. Kalburgi’s murder is perceived to be the handiwork of Hindutva groups, but neither the police nor the government have made any official statement in this regard.
Kalburgi was a renowned and widely respected scholar. He was formerly a vice chancellor of the Kannada University in Hampi. He is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on 12th century Bhakti reformer Basavanna, and his work on the poet angered the Lingayat religious establishment in the 1980s.
More recently Kalburgi’s remarks at a public event in June 2014 became controversial for allegedly “offending religious sentiments”. Known to be a rationalist by persuasion, he had referred to an experience of Jnanapith awardee U R Ananthamurthy, which the latter had recounted in an essay. Ananthamurthy had written that he had once urinated on an idol as a child in order to test his fears.
After these remarks were reported by the media, cases were filed against Kalburgi and Ananthamurthy. While many mourned the writer’s death, others such as Bajrang Dal leader in Bantwal taluk Bhuvit Shetty welcomed the writer’s murder.