Former Tamil Nadu MLA and General Secretary of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), D Ravikumar, has been told that there is a threat to his life. Speaking to TNM, Ravikumar reveals that the information was given to him by the Tamil Nadu state Intelligence Bureau based on confessions by the alleged killers of slain journalist Gauri Lankesh.
“They informed me about it and asked me if I wanted security. So, we approached the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on August 27 and 29,” he says. The Karnataka Special Investigation Team, which is probing the murder of Gauri Lankesh, confirmed to TNM that D Ravikumar's name was a part of the list of 34 targets in the diary of Amol Kale, the alleged mastermind in the case.
Sources say that 8 of these targets were from Karnataka and the remaining 26 were of rationalists and progressive thinkers across the country. "We cannot reveal the names of all the people who were mentioned in the list. The IB has alerted respective state governments to provide protection to the persons on the list," the SIT source said.
Ravikumar, who is also a writer and lawyer, is shocked at the developments. He says, “This is the first time that I am facing a threat like this. It is very strange. I'm known for my polite approach. All BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu know me as a cordial person. We are politically against the BJP. Our leader Thirumavalavan also has good relations with the BJP leaders. I don't have any problems with Hindu outfits in Tamil Nadu.”
Worried at the political climate in the country, he says, “They are not targeting political leaders. They are targeting intellectuals and writers whether it is through false cases or terror groups. This is taking a different direction. I’m not scared. But the way they are planning and working is disturbing. The future of hundreds of crores of people is under threat.”
However, he refuses to cow down to the threat, stating “I'm not a hard liner. Even in my criticism I'm not hard. Being an Ambedkarite, I take an ideological stand. Can we change what we say because they threaten us? No. That's why I'm fighting against caste.”
Following the threat to his life, leaders of the Dravida Kazhagam as well as the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India(Marxist) have come out in support of Ravikumar.
Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her Bengaluru residence on September 5, 2017. The Karnataka SIT that is probing her murder have found links with the murder of rationalist and progressive thinkers such as Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare, and MM Kalburgi.
(With inputs from Theja Ram)