Dabholkar's Shooter Says Right-Wing Group Gave Him Crash Course in Ideology, Making Bombs

Sharad Kalaskar was arrested in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, and his role in the Dabholkar and Govind Pansare killings emerged during his confession last August.

New Delhi: In October last year, Sharad Kalaskar, who was arrested in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, confessed to being involved in the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare as well. He was one of the two men who shot Dabholkar, he said.

NDTV has now accessed his 14-page confession, in which he reveals details of the violence. Dabholkar was killed in Pune in August 2013.

Kalaskar has said that he shot the 67-year-old rationalist twice – once in the head and again in the eye. In the months leading up to the murder, Kalaskar confessed that he was approached by members of a “right-wing group” who gave him a “crash course” in ideology, using firearms and making bombs, NDTV reported.

According to Kalaskar, prime accused and Sanatan Sanstha Virendrasinh Tawde (who has also been arrested by the CBI), told him, We have to finish off some evil men,” and brainwashed him.

Also read | Right-Wing Lawyer Punalekar Helped Destroy Weapons Used in Dabholkar’s Murder: CBI

Dabholkar’s shooter also played a role in planning the September 2017 murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, according to his confession, and attended multiple meetings in which the killing was planned. “In August 2016, there was a meeting in Belgaum, where the names of people working against Hinduism were asked for. In that meeting, the name of Gauri Lankesh came up and the decision to murder her was taken,” NDTV quotes him as saying.

Another similar meeting was held in August 2017, he said, when the final plan for the assassination was decided. Kalaskar and the other accused spent a day after that practicing target shooting, he said.

So far, six people have been arrested for Dabholkar’s murder.

The right-wing Hindutva extremist group Sanatan Sanstha has been linked to the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Lankesh. The chargesheet in the Lankesh assassination refers to the killing as an “organised crime” by the Sanatan Sanstha. Amol Kale, former Pune convenor of the Sanstha-affiliated Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, has been named as the prime accused.

Kalaskar’s confession says Tawde introduced him to Kale after the Dabholkar’s murder.