Govind Pansare, the leader of anti-toll movement in Maharashtra and his wife were shot at while returning from their morning walk in Kolhapur. Pansare's condition has been described as critical but stable, while his wife Uma is serious and stable
In another shocking incident, veteran Communist and leader of anti-toll tax movement in Maharashtra, Govind P Pansare and his wife were shot at near their home in Sagarmala at Kolhapur.
According to police, two unidentified assailants on a motorbike accosted the couple around 8am and fired at least four rounds from close range before speeding off.
The 82-year old lawyer and writer, and his wife Uma were rushed by passers-by to Astor Aadhar Hospital where they are undergoing surgery for bullet injuries.
Pansare's condition has been described as "critical but stable", while Uma is serious and stable, according to doctors.
Leaders and activists across the political spectrum expressed outrage over the attacks reminiscent of the early morning killing of anti-superstitions activist Narendra Dabholkar in Pune in August 2013. His killers are still absconding.
The incident led to spontaneous protests across the state including Kolhapur, Nashik, Aurangabad and Mumbai with people condemning the attacks and demanding justice for the family.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis termed the attack on Pansare and his wife as "shocking and condemnable" and said all steps are being taken to nab the culprits.
"I am deeply shocked and I strongly condemn the attack on Pansare and his wife. I have spoken to superintendent of police (SP) of Kolhapur and directed him to speed up the investigations and arrest the assailants," Fadnavis said.
The chief minister added that 10 police teams are being formed to probe the case and the state police chief would supervise the investigations.
Sharad Pawar, chief of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) termed the attacks as heinous and a matter of extreme concern for the people of the state.
Social activist and Narendra Dabholkar's daughter Mukta termed the attack on Pansare as a pre-planned conspiracy and attack on secularism.