An Arrest is Made in the Assassination of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar

Eight days ago, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was assassinated by extremists in Pune, India presumably because his debunking of supernatural claims angered a few too many people…

Today, an arrest was finally made in the murder:

31-year-old Sandeep Shinde was picked up from Hindu organisation Sanatan Sanstha’s headquarters at Ramnathi in Ponda on Wednesday at around 5 pm.

If that group’s name sounds familiar, it’s because they had initially denied having anything to do with Dabholkar’s death, even though they didn’t exactly shed any tears over it.

An article in the New York Times from over the weekend even quoted its leader:

The founder of one such group, Sanatan Sanstha, noting that he did not condone the killing, did not bother to feign sorrow over Dr. Dabholkar’s death.

“Instead of dying of old age, or by surgery, which causes a lot of suffering, the death Mr. Dabholkar got today was a blessing from God,” the leader, a former hypnotherapist now known as His Holiness Dr. Jayant Athavale, wrote in an editorial in the organization’s publication, Sanatan Prabhat.

A week ago, a spokesperson for the group also disavowed the murder in another publication:

“We are also equally shocked by his killing. We have nothing to do with it,” Sanatan Sanstha member Abhay Vartak said.

“We had differences of ideology with him… nothing on a personal level and he was doing commendable work,” Vartak said. He also defended [Athavale's] editorial by claiming that “not a single word” in it was offensive in any manner.

Vartak appealed to the media not to make “a scapegoat” of Sanatan Sanstha.

The same group was responsible for a bomb blast in the city of Margao in 2009.

Story still developing…

(Thanks to Greta for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bitter Lizard

    It’s always a strange mix of posts I see on this blog. Theists are upset about billboards and twerking, and atheists are upset about being murdered and attempted murdered. Equally legitimate concerns on both sides, for sure.

  • trog69

    I’m glad that Sanal Edamaruku got out of that country before this happened to him, and before the police in charge of protecting frauds and charlatans could get their hands on him.

  • Guest

    Well, they’ve made an arrest, that’s good. It won’t bring him back, but it might save someone else.


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