‘Fabric of society has further fragmented’

Activists discuss growing violence against dissenters on 60th birth anniversary of Gauri Lankesh

January 30, 2022 02:07 am | Updated 02:07 am IST - Bengaluru

Gauri Lankesh

Gauri Lankesh

In the over four years since editor-activist Gauri Lankesh was assassinated on September 5, 2017, the fabric of society has further fragmented with increasing calls for violence and intolerance, said activists, authors and academicians. In a webinar, ‘Hate as a State Project’, to mark the 60th birth anniversary of Ms. Lankesh, guests spoke at length on the current state of society.

What started as intolerance of minorities and dissenters, has now grown into hate and open calls for violence and genocide. Those who use violence to exhort and mobilise people, will eventually face a day when language fails to do the trick and actual violence may be inevitable, said academic A. Narayana, at the webinar.

Teesta Setalvad, chairperson, Gauri Memorial Trust, said Ms. Lankesh’s journalism exposed how hate had turned into a State project and she was herself a target of hate as both political and state project. She was allegedly killed by those inspired by teachings of a fanatic hindu organisation as she was considered “anti-Hindu”, police investigation claims.

According to Mr. Narayana, a regime that comes to power on the plank of political mobilisation, will be forced to implement hate as its policy. But he said we need to pause for a moment before assuming hate is a state project, he added. “I am personally disappointed at how the legislature and political opposition has responded to an array of hate crimes from Sulli deals to the Haridwar Dharma Sansad,” he said, adding the role of the bureaucracy needs a closer study. “I don’t think all is not lost in the judiciary. But there are a few who are resisting this project, their reaction may be selective or delayed,” he said.

Ms. Setalvad spoke at length on how the media had become a tool for spreading hate. “Followers of the current regime are armed with hate towards minorities, Dalits and women,” she added.

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