Even those who once held him in high esteem

More terrible news from the subcontinent:

The police suspect the involvement of Hindu extremists in the murder of Dr Malleshappa M Kalburgi, a prominent Kannada scholar and former Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi.

Kalburgi was shot on his head by one of the two unidentified men on Sunday morning at his residence in Dharwad’s Kalyan Nagar locality. He was later taken to a district hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Even as the police suspect Hindutva extremists for Kalburgi’s murder, Bajrang Dal co-convener Bhuvith Shetty allegedly took to Twitter to say that that Indian critic and rationalist KS Bhagawan will be their next target for making fun of Hinduism.

Making fun of a religion is a reason for murder then?

“Then it was UR Anantamoorty and now it is MM Kalburgi. Mock Hinduism and die a dogs death. And dear K. S Bhagwan you are next,” Sheety tweeted at 10:41 am on 30 August. Shetty’s Twitter handle was, however, deleted shortly after.

Ananthamurthy, another Kannada writer, who died of cardiac arrest and renal failure in August last year in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), too had problems with Sangh Parivar outfits for his staunch criticism of their ideology and activities for over five decades.

Kalburgi was a renowed scholar and recipient of the National Sahitya Akademi award. However, he was condemned by Hindu extremists for his remarks against idol worshipping and questioning superstition.

And now he’s dead from a bullet through the brain.

Kalburgi once again incurred the wrath of some people for speaking against idol worship and the superstitions related to it.

In June 2014, while addressing a seminar on Anti-superstition Bill at Bangalore, Dr Kalburgi referred to the late litterateur UR Ananthamurthy and said “there was nothing wrong in urinating on idols”, according to a Dajiworld report.

Kalburgi had reportedly quoted an excerpt from Ananthamurthy’s book ‘Bettale Puje Yake Kadadu’ – ‘Why Not Nude Worship’.

His statement triggered immense criticism from Hindus who demanded his arrest. A case was also filed against Kalburgi and Ananthamurthy for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the community.

That’s an actual thing in India and Bangladesh and Pakistan – that idea that “hurting the religious sentiments of the community” is a criminal act.

Massive protests were held at the time by supporters of Bajrang Dal, Sri Rama Sene, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other Hindutva activists in Karnataka.

Following his comments at the seminar, Kalburgi was criticised by even those who once held him in high esteem.

Of course he was.

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