Mangaluru, March 17,2016 : A day after the news “Badiyadka Gandhi Namdev Shenoy goes missing” appeared in these columns, a couple of renowned people called this office and expressed their disappointment against the system.
Campco former managing director Pramod Kumar Rai said that he had been in touch with Namdev Shenoy the last four years, in connection with the biography of his father Kumbra Jatthappa Rai.
“Namdev Shenoy and my father (Kumbra Jatthappa Rai) had been together during the freedom struggle,” he said and added that he had a series of meetings with Shenoy, who is the only known surviving Gandhian in the coastal region.
Last year, when Rai tried to approach Shenoy for a signature for an article by Shenoy (compiled by someone else) on Rai, however, he was shocked and surprised to learn that the 92-year-old freedom fighter had gone into hiding.
“It was only after contacting several persons that I could trace him about four months ago in Udupi, and get his autograph,” Rai said.
He added that he did not hear from Namdev since then, although he wanted to invite Shenoy for the release of his father’s biography. The book, titled “On the trail of Gandhiji’s footsteps – Odyssey of Jatthappa Rai,” was scheduled to be released by Mahatma Gandhiji’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi in the City on Thursday, March 17.
Another distinguished guest 98-year-old freedom fighter H S Doreswamy was scheduled to be present at the book release programme on Thursday. Doreswamy, who spoke to the correspondent over phone, said that Shenoy had been taking part regularly in the Sarvodaya meetings, but missed it this year, on February 13.
“I am surprised and have no idea as to what made him go into hiding,” he rued and added that there must be some foul-play. “There is a need to find out the truth,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, Sarvodaya Mandala Secretary and Advocate Yeshwanth K said that the office-bearers of the Mandala have tried their level-best to trace him, but their efforts were in vain. “We are ready to offer him any help any time if he is in trouble,” he said.
Booked under Pocso Act
Enquiries by this correspondent at Namdev Shenoy’s hometown Badiyadka revealed that Shenoy went missing after he was booked under the Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act on November 25, 2014 by the Adhur police.
Confirming the same, Adhur Police Sub-inspector Santhosh Kumar said that Shenoy was booked under Pocso and IPC 376 (rape) on November 25, 2014 (Case No 573/14) based on a complaint filed by Nisha, the then co-ordinator of Childline in Kasargod. According to the complaint, the freedom fighter had misbehaved with minor girls going to high school in the vicinity.
When contacted, Kasargod Superintendent of Police Dr Srinivas said that the Adhur police are investigating into the case and investigations are under progress.