Mangaluru, Mar 21, 2018: March 21, 2016 the city lost an RTI activist – Vinayak Panduranga Baliga. At around 5 am, Baliga, as part of his routine, had just left to a temple when a gang hacked him to death in front of his house.
Though seven, including main accused Naresh Shenoy – one of the founders of NaMo Brigade – were arrested, all the accused are out on bail.
Today March 21, Wednesday, as the brutal incident completes two years, Deshapremi Sanghatanegala Okkuta will honour the brave heart by taking out a march from Sri Venkatramana Temple at Car Street, the temple that he adored the most, to his house. The procession will leave from the temple premises at 4pm.
The members will offer tributes to him at a public meeting to be held at Kalakunja CBEU Golden Jubilee Hall post the procession.
“Though it is strongly suspected that there is a mafia aiming to seize control of the temples behind his murder, the plot has been not completely investigated to date. His (Baliga’s) sisters have tried their best to get the crime investigated by a special investigation team. To lend support to them and to reveal this plot, we are having a public meeting at the CBEU Hall soon after the procession,” said Narendra Nayak, president, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations.
Baliga was a BJP booth level worker who had questioned a number of irregularities, including the misuse of funds at the Sri Venkatarama Temple. He had also filed cases against a residential complex in his locality which had not installed a sewage treatment plant and a school for having built more than twice the sanctioned area among other issues.
In a supplementary chargesheet filed by investigating officer Uday Nayak at the Third Judicial Magistrate First Class Court on December 17, 2016, the officer stated that Baliga’s murder was an act of revenge following the activist’s accusations with regard to the involvement of Naresh Shenoy in a theft reported at Vitobha Temple.
Meanwhile, Baliga’s fight against the illegal construction of a school has fetched results. After his death, his sister Harsha Baliga and rationalist Nayak decided to continue the litigation. Mohammed Nazeer, commissioner, Mangaluru City Corporation, recently passed orders for vacation of the portion of the building constructed illegally.