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Govind Pansare succumbs to bullet injuries, funeral Saturday in Kolhapur
Saturday February 21, 2015 1:08 PM, IANS

Senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, leading light of the anti-toll tax movement and rationalist Govind Pansare, who was shot at in Kolhapur Feb 16, died in Mumbai late Friday. He was 82.

Pansare had been airlifted to the city's Breach Candy Hospital Friday evening for further treatment, but succumbed barely a couple of hours later around 11.30 p.m.

Dean of Sir J. J. Group of Hospital T. P. Lahane, who was monitoring Pansare's condition, said excessive bleeding in the lungs had resulted in his death.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, several of his cabinet colleagues, top leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, CPI, RPI and others visited the hospital since early Saturday and paid homage to Pansare.

"Maharashtra has lost a progressive leader. The state will always remember his contribution for giving justice to the poor and depressed classes," Fadnavis said.

An autopsy was completed on his body Saturday and it was later airlifted to Kolhapur for the last rites.

Pansare and his wife were shot at while they were returning from a morning walk in their hometown.

At least two motorcycle-borne assailants accosted them, shouted Pansare's name and shot at the couple from close range before speeding off from the scene of the crime.

His wife Uma, who also sustained injuries, is undergoing treatment in a Kolhapur hospital, where her condition was described as stable.

The modus operandi of the attack has been described by the police as similar to the shooting of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar 18 months ago in Pune.

Renowned for his advocacy for the rights of people and workers from the lowest strata of society, Pansare was born Nov 26, 1933 in Kolhar village in Ahmednagar district.

"His family had lost its farm to local money-lenders and since childhood Pansare has fought against the existing social system, and later joined the CPI and continued his fight on a larger canvas," CPI-M leader Ajit Abhyankar told mediapersons.

The youngest of five children, Pansare moved to the erstwhile princely state of Kolhapur for higher studies at Rajaram College and later acquired a law degree.

Around the same time, he also plunged into the Indian freedom movement and took part in several agitations, including the struggle to liberate Goa.

He also did not shy away from criticising certain policies and practices of the CPI due to which the Communist movement failed to become popular among the masses in the country.

A few weeks ago, Pansare had faced protests at Shivaji University where he criticized the glorification of Nathuram Godse by certain groups.

He also made certain references to the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks martyr Hemant Karkare, the former ATS chief who was shot dead by Pakistani terrorists.

Close friends and party activists have claimed that he had allegedly received threats for his bold utterances, but did not take them too seriously.

During his lifetime, he wrote 21 novels, most of them stark commentaries on the ills and wrong practices in Indian society.

Messages of condolences are pouring in from all over India following his demise.

Kolhapur police have formed 10 special teams to nab the killers of Pansare, but so far there has been no breakthrough in the case.

Pansare's body would be kept for public 'darshan' in Kolhapur till 2 p.m. before the funeral.

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