Skip to main content

Why Karnataka police should offer complete security to top rationalist Narendra Nayak

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

After the Karnataka polls were declared last week, the police administration in Mangalore was quick to withdraw the security, provided since 2016 to eminent rationalist and President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Association ( FIRA) Dr Narendra Nayak. Dr Nayak has been not merely active promoting rationalism and scientific thinking all over the country; he has also been associated with consumer movement for the last five decades.
The decision of the Mangalore police came a rude shock to Dr Nayak who has been under constant threat like many other rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar, Gauri Lankesh, Govind Pansare and Dr MM Kalburgi.
There is enough evidence to suggest that the humanist-rationalists have become a ‘threat’ to the very idea of hatred and superstition, one reason why they become a target of hate mongers, most of whom feel that their work is against Hindutva. However, the fact is, all of them have devoted their life to reasoning and rationality.
The first to have been assassinated was Dabholkar who had been working against superstition and wanted an anti-superstition law in Maharashtra. He was assassinated on August 20th, 2013 in Pune. The next person in line was Pansare who was murdered on February 20th, 2015. Kalburgi was the next to get assassinated at Dharwad, Karnataka on August 30th, 2015. And Gauri Lankesh was killed on September 5th, 2017 in Bangaluru.
Investigation into their murder has still not seen much progress. Meanwhile, we continue to read how some people get released in the absence of any ‘proof’. There has been threat to others we well. However, as Karnataka is the new laboratory of the south, we see new threats continue to emerge – the latest being to noted Kannada writer KS Bhagwan.
Dr Nayak says he has been the target of hatred and intimidation, and that is why he was provided with police security since 2016:
“The gunman provided to me by the police from June, 2016 has been removed with effect from today. I had not asked for this security at any time but it was said to have been provided following threats to the lives of us prominent rationalists. Narendra Dhabolkar was murdered in 2013 and after that Pansare, Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. About a month ago I had a letter from the DCP of Mangalore police that henceforth I should pay for the security provided. While I had not asked for it and I am not a wealthy person to pay for my own protection as mentioned in that letter. I had replied in writing to the same stating all the facts after meeting the concerned person.”
In March first week, Dr Nayak got a letter from DCP Mangalore Anshu Kumar informing him about the withdrawal of security and asking for advance payment if that he needs security. It seems that the police administration wants him to pay for his security, which is difficult for a person who is a pensioner. He has not been informed whether the threat perception against him has diluted or does not exist any more.
It is the duty of the administration to convince him about this, but asking for advance payment for security only proves that the there is still no dilution of threat perception.
Humanist-rationalists have become threat to hatred and superstition, one reason why they are a target of Hindutva hate mongers
The fact is that the threat perception on Dr Nayak continues not merely for his work against superstition and rationalism. He has also been actively involved in exposing the forces behind the murder case of RTI activist Vinayak Baliga. He says:
“There are a number of extremist elements out to get me for my work as a rationalist and to uphold principles of secularism human and democratic rights. Right now, the trial of the RTI activist Vinayak Baliga is going on and witnesses have complained to the court that they are being threatened. This is the case in which I had played a major role in getting the proper investigation done and real culprits prosecuted. The people behind this are very politically powerful individuals and are supposedly threatening the witnesses.”
Dr Nayak played an important role to get the culprit exposed. Baliga was murdered in March 2016. As the trial began in June 2016, Nayak said, he was called and offered police perception. To quote him:
“I was called by Sri Chandrashekar, the commissioner of Police for Mangalore, and he informed me that police protection would be provided for me. I did ask the reason and he said nothing specific. However, keeping in mind the state of affairs and the murder of Pansare and Kalburgi I accepted the same.
“Because of my involvement in the exposure of the Vinayak Baliga case, I have also received threatening messages from devotees of Kashi mutt one of whom threatened to eliminate me. An FIR was filed at Urwa Police station but was later transferred to Juvenile court because the first part of it was made a few days before the accused attained the adult age.
“Later on in March,2017 when I was going to the swimming pool early in the morning an attempt was made on my life and I escaped because I was quick and did not stop. After that the security was enhanced to 24 hours with two gunmen on duty and it has continued ever since.
“Again, during investigation of the Gauri Lankesh murder by the SIT, newspapers have carried a write up about how a chit with four names with the person assigned to carry out the task of eliminating each was discovered. My name was among the four and the same one who had shot Gauri had been assigned to end my life too.”

Dr Nayak has mentioned this in his letter to the Anshu Kumar, DCP police, who has asked him to make payment for his security. He is not in a position to make any payment for his security, but the fact is, he needs protection, which has been provided by the police. The National Human Rights Commission needs to look into the issue and seek an explanation from the Mangalore police.
It is deeply distressing that despite knowing the threat perception, Dr Nayak is being asked to pay for his security. He is an asset to any society that believes in humanism and scientific temper. He has been consistently carrying out training programmes, lectures, workshops and seminars on exposing the myths and irrational practices which endanger lives of millions of people. We have seen how people love to see his miracle-exposure programmes in villages.
Free thinkers, humanists and rationalists are not a threat to society but provide vibrancy to democratic values and civilised behaviour. They bring reasoning and rationality in any discussions. They are not religion haters, as they are being projected. Most of the humanists always spoken against discrimination based on religion and caste, especially untouchability.
In today’s world when religion is being used to punish people and create majoritarian discriminatory viewpoints, it is humanism and rationality that will save the world.
One is hopeful that the Mangalore police as well as the Karnataka government would provide ample security to Dr Nayak so that he can move around without any fear and continue to do what he has been doing over the years.
If the police feels that the threat perception does not exit, it must explain to him and must take the responsibility for anything that might happen to Dr Nayak. But the administration cannot and should not ask him to pay for his security.
*Human rights defender



IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

India 'neglecting' air, water, vegetation as its world air quality index ranking decelerates

By Dr Gurinder Kaur* The World Air Quality Report 2023 , prepared by a Swiss technology company IQAir, was released on 19 March 2024. According to this report, India is the third most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the capital of India, New Delhi, is the most polluted capital in the world.