Activists in Mumbai protest scribe Gauri Lankesh’s murder

September 07, 2017 01:06 am | Updated 08:01 am IST - Mumbai

City intelligentsia, artists, journalists, civil and political activists on Wednesday held separate gatherings at Bandra’s Carter Road and Mumbai Press Club to condemn the murder of Gauri Lankesh, editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike , who was shot dead on the evening of September 5 at the entrance to her residence in Bangalore.

The 55-year-old journalist was known for her opposition to intolerance and an outspoken critic of Hindutva politics . The gatherings recollected that the murder of Lankesh comes two years after the killers got M.M. Kalburgi, and is another in the series of rationalists and left-wing thinkers such as Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.

“The same hatred ideology and people, who murdered Mahatma Gandhi, have now killed Lankesh,” said Javed Anand of Indian Muslims For Secular Democracy (IMSD).

Actor Shabana Azmi said the murders of Kalburgi, Dabholkar, Pansare and Lankesh have one thing in common. “They are direct attacks on our right to speak for the justice. But there are always those who will dare to speak out; we will raise voice against such actions and we will not be silenced. We demand justice.”

IMSD’s professor Firoz Mithiwala said the right to dissent is fundamental to democracy. “We will take back our freedom from the RSS and other bloodthirsty demons.”

Professor of arts Gangadharan Menon said the only reason Lankesh was killed was that she spoke her mind. “But the murderers have done a stupid thing: they simply spread her message. Now the nation speaks about her and her Kannada daily.”

The protesters, who gathered at Amphitheater on Carter Road sang songs and raised slogans.

At a candle light protest organised by Mumbai Press Club, journalist Kumar Ketkar said the entire community should come together to raise their voice. “It is not the murder of Lankesh. It is the murder of her thought process and what she stood for.”

Journalist Gurbir Singh, who participated in the Azad Maidan protest, said ideological parameters are being drawn and there is a systematic building up in crushing a journalist. “Earlier there was no social media. Now, it starts on the social media with trolling, abuse, and then there are physical threats and pressure from the management.”

Another journalist Ayaz Memon said in a democracy, you should be able to sit across the table and retain your position. “But now there is a threat to everyone who thinks differently. We have to be extremely vigilant.”

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