Aam Aadmi Party leader and former journalist Ashish Khetan has claimed that he received two threat letters from right-wing extremist groups between July 2016 and May 2017. In July this year, Khetan filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court seeking uniform guidelines or a standard operating procedure to be followed by law enforcement agencies in the country while dealing with such cases. A copy of the petition is in the possession of Scroll.in.
Meanwhile, Nandakumar Nair, a superintendent of police at the Central Bureau of investigation, who had investigated the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, is also named in one of the threat letters. Nair was also on the radar of right-wing groups, unidentified sources told The Indian Express.
The news about Khetan and Nair receiving threats comes as patterns are being noted across the country connecting the murders of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, Communist leader Govind Pansare in Maharashtra, progressive thinker MM Kalburgi in Karnataka, and journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at her Bengaluru home by unidentified people on Tuesday.
According to Ashish Khetan’s petition, the first threat letter he received had said, “…You have crossed all limits when you abused Sanatan Sanstha and well-respected Hindus.” It added, “You conspired to defame Sanatan and asked for a ban on it. It’s time to account for of all your filthy activities.”
The tone of the second letter Khetan said he had received was similar to the first. Among other things, he claimed it had said, “The time has come that just like evil Shishupal [a mythological character] you should also be killed for your sins,” adding that, “Virender Singh Tawde, a person who obtained 69% marks in his studies has also been incarcerated in jail because of you.” The letter also allegedly accused Khetan ot working with Nandakumar Nair.
Khetan said that he received both the letters from anonymous sources, after which he informed the police and wrote to other authorities including the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. However, no action was taken, he said.
The petition also mentioned a press conference Khetan held in 2014 on the possible involvement of a man named Sarang Akolkar in Dabholkar’s murder. The Central Bureau of investigation in its charge sheet in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case had later named Akolkar and one Vinay Pawar, both preachers of the Sanatan Sanstha, as the assailants.