Chennai and rest of India cries out over murder of Gauri Lankesh

Protests over the death of Gauri Lankesh, Chennai

On 5th September 2017, the brave journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot and killed outside her home in Bangalore. The style of the murder was similar to the killings of rationalists Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Pansare. Thousands marched in protest in Bangalore after the killing and then last week, an all India call was put out. Marches took place in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and numerous other cities. People raised slogans like “I am Gauri, We are Gauri” and “the killers of Gandhi are the killers of Gauri”.

Gauri Lankesh was the editor of an independent Kannada newspaper called Gauri Lankesh Patrike. The newspaper commonly reflected her pro-left and anti-RSS views. Her assassins were waiting for her outside her house and when she came home, they walked up to her and shot her 4 times. The gun seems to be the same type that killed M M Kalburgi a few years ago. Kalburgi was also killed at his doorstep. Members of the extremist Hindu terror group, the Sanatan Sanstha, are under suspicion for the murder of Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.

As P. Sainath said in The Wire, there is a long list of murdered journalists, most of who came from humble origins and wrote on issues in rural areas for non-English media.  This is the first such murder in a big city and marks how much bolder the killers feel. The lack of convictions in the previous cases seems to suggest that this time too, they will go free. In fact, disgusting right-wing voices on social media are celebrating her death with many saying she deserved it and others trying to blame Naxals.

A week after her assassination, thousands marched in Bangalore. Then, on October 5th, all India marches were coordinated. In Bombay, hundreds of people came to Marine Drive where pens were distributed to signify that people must “express injustice, oppression, exploitation and make people realize their conditions and to struggle, organize and fight against the injustice, oppression, exploitation and to change it”, according to Salim Saboowalla.

At the Delhi march, Indian Express quotes, Sardaram Bhati, a farmer activist from Greater Noida’s Kailashpur village, who underwent a brain surgery in July to remove a malignant tumour, scars of which were visible on his tonsured head: “Fascism is not here yet, but there are chances of it taking over the country. So, till the time I am alive I will keep registering my dissent and protest against these forces.”

In Chennai, protestors were condemning the massacre of Gauri Lankesh and carrying banners saying “Gandhi’s killers killed Gauri”. But while they were going in a procession to Gandhi’s statue, they were arrested by the police and forcibly detained.

Protests over the death of Gauri Lankesh, Chennai

Protests over the death of Gauri Lankesh, Chennai

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