On July 27, 2018, lawyer and activist Ajit Nayak was murdered in Dandeli, Karnataka when he was returning home after work. Nayak was a criminal lawyer and also former chief of the Dandeli Block Congress who was active in the Kali Bachao Andolan, a movement to protect river Kali. He was attacked with a sword by an unknown assailant and was declared brought dead at the hospital.
Nayak was also the head of the Dandeli Bar Association. He had led a movement to demand Dandeli be made a separate taluk by carving it out of Joida taluk. Silent marches were held in Dandeli following the murder where lawyers boycotted court proceedings and took to the streets.
After the investigation, the police arrested Deepak alias Pandurang Kamble who admitted to committing the murder. Additional SP, Uttar Kannada, K. G. Devaraju told TWJ that the murder was related to a land dispute that Nayak was fighting in court. Nayak’s client had won and this had enraged Kamble. He murdered the lawyer with the help of a few others who were also arrested, Devaraju added.
Naik’s murder is but just one among the many related court-related murder cases that have taken place in the country. On June 25, 2018, Bachan Lal Soni, a lawyer from Allahabad, was shot dead for taking up a case of land dispute. In Allahabad, Soni was the third lawyer to be murdered in broad daylight in a period of two months. Earlier, Rajesh Srivastava, a district court lawyer, was shot dead by unknown assailants. On June 10, Ravi lawyer Prakash Tiwari was shot dead in relation to a clash over a plot of land.