The threat to progressive thinkers in society loomed large as long as the masterminds of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar’s murder were roaming free, said the Maharashtra Andhshradha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) on Friday.The MANS, founded by the rationalist in 1989, will launch a campaign called ‘Jawab Do’ (give us the answers) on August 20 — the sixth anniversary of Dabholkar’s death — to demand the arrest of the masterminds.“After the Bombay High Court rapped the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for dragging its feet over the probe, the agency finally arrested Sachin Andure and Sharad Kalaskar last year and named them as Dabholkar’s assailants. At the time, we had hoped that the case would finally see a speedy conclusion with the masterminds being brought to book. Regrettably, nothing of the kind has happened so far,” Dr. Hamid Dabholkar, MANS activist and son of the late rationalist, said.He said Dabholkar’s killers had no personal quarrel with him, but were incited by certain people on the basis of differences with the rationalist’s way of thinking and his ideas. “So, it is all the more urgent that the masterminds of this crime, who are responsible for this murder, be nabbed by the CBI,” Dr. Hamid said, alleging a lack of political will on part of the State government in probing the case.He said that from the evidence gathered by investigating agencies and the charge sheet filed by the CBI, it was reasonably certain that the crime was linked to the murders of Communist leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur, scholar M.M. Kalburgi in Dharwad and journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru and that all four killings were committed by members of an ideologically hard-line outfit.“Despite this, it seems that the State government is not interesting in probing these radical organisations. The High Court has also repeatedly ticked off the CBI for its tardiness in retrieving the alleged murder weapons that are believed to have been dismantled and thrown by the assailants in a creek near Mumbai. We also demand that the agencies take action in that regard,” Dr. Hamid said.He said that as the CBI delayed in filing a charge sheet against Amol Kale, Rajesh Bangera and Amit Degvekar in the Dabholkar case, the trio was able to secure bail. All three are prime accused in the Gauri Lankesh murder and are lodged in Bengaluru’s Central Prison. The MANS will also launch a social media campaign tagging Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand the arrest of the mastermind.Dr. Hamid said the Dr. Narendra Dabholkar Memorial Lecture will be delivered by N. Ram, chairman, The Hindu Group, on August 20 at the Tilak Smarak Mandir in Pune. “Mr. Ram will be speaking on three challenges facing current Indian society: the assault on reason, the erosion of free speech and the reality of mass deprivation,” he said.Dabholkar was shot by assailants during his morning stroll at the Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013. Pansare and his wife, Uma, were similarly shot at close range from two 7.65-mm country-made weapons while they were returning from a morning walk outside their home in KolhapurThe similar nature of the murder of Kalburgi outside his home in Dharwad and of Lankesh in Bengaluru has led several activists to believe that the killings were part of a pre-planned fundamentalist, right-wing Hindutva conspiracy.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at the Rotary Club of St. Andrew weekly luncheon meeting on December 11, at Hotel Four Seasons in St. Andrew. Story Highlights Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the recent Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey shows that 40 per cent of persons who are hypertensive are unaware, and this is of great concern.According to Dr. Tufton, more lives can be spared from this condition, and for this to happen, he is calling on the unaware to get regular check-ups and abide by the prescribed practices of physicians.Dr. Tufton was speaking at the Rotary Club of St. Andrew weekly luncheon meeting on December 11, at Hotel Four Seasons in St. Andrew.“The Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey, which was published about eight weeks ago, is a very comprehensive study looking at a representative sample of the population, done by the University of the West Indies in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and a number of other stakeholders. It shows that one in three Jamaicans or 684,900 Jamaicans who are 15 years and older are hypertensive, and 40 per cent of those who are hypertensive are unaware of their condition,” he said.He also noted that the survey shows that one in eight Jamaicans, 15 years or older, or some 236,000 persons are diabetic, and that four out of every 10 are unaware that they have that particular condition.In terms of obesity and overweight, Dr. Tufton pointed out that the study reveals that one in two Jamaicans over 15 years old or some 577,000 persons are affected.“It is more worrying if you look at the younger age cohort. Obesity levels among our children in schools have almost doubled over the last seven years,” he said.He added that the number of obese children is showing a trend of doubling within seven-year periods, and if this continues, then there will be implications for Jamaica in the long run, and it is the responsibility of adults to guide children to proper health and nutrition and prevent the trend from continuing.To tackle this problem, especially among the children, Dr. Tufton said the Ministry of Health will continue to roll out the Jamaica Moves programme in schools across the island in January, along with the reduction of sugary drinks in schools.“The Jamaica Moves programme, aimed at getting Jamaicans to be more physically active, and helping them to understand the implications of diet on obesity and on their disease risks or profiles, is an attempt at prevention, and so far, it has been a successful campaign in terms of engagement,” he added.Dr. Tufton said the young people are eating and drinking themselves sick. “They spend more time on the laptop and the computers. They don’t engage in physical activity and they eat the salt and sweet snacks and, of course, drink the sugary drinks,” he noted. Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the recent Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey shows that 40 per cent of persons who are hypertensive are unaware, and this is of great concern. According to Dr. Tufton, more lives can be spared from this condition, and for this to happen, he is calling on the unaware to get regular check-ups and abide by the prescribed practices of physicians.