Anti-toll campaigner Govind Pansare succumbs to gunshot injuries

Veteran Communist leader and social activist Govind Pansare, who was shot by unidentified goons near his house in Kolhapur earlier this week, succumbed to his injuries on Friday night.

Pansare's wife, Uma, who was also shot while they were out for their morning walk at Sagarmala area of Kolhapur city, survived the attack.

Pansare, 82, who was in the forefront of anti-road toll agitation, is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Pansare was airlifted from Kolhapur to Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai on Friday after his condition deteriorated.

Around 9.45 pm, Pansare's condition started to deteriorate, with bleeding in his lungs, doctors at the hospital said, which resulted in his death.

Born on 26 November 1933, in Kolhar, in Ahmednagar district of the then undivided Maharashtra, Pansare was the youngest of five children.

He battled extreme poverty after his family lost their farm to moneylenders.

Pansare finished his graduation from Rajaram College in Kolhapur, and then went on to study law. During his college days, Pansare participated in several movements, including the Goa freedom struggle.

Associated with the left movement since childhood, Pansare always advocated the rights of people from the lowest strata of society.

Although a part of the Communist party, Pansare often spoke against some of the party's practices that kept the movement out of the mainstream.

Pansare has written 21 books, mostly a commentary on the wrongs in society. His book Shivaji Kon Hota (Who was Shivaji?) on how fundamentalists misused the Maratha warrior's name drew strong opposition.

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

A team of Mumbai police's crime branch, which usually probes high-profile cases in the city, was also conducting a parallel inquiry, police sources said.