Her assassination is a failure of Government & ruling parties
MediaVigil condemns the political assassination of senior editor Gauri Lankesh at her Bangalore residence at around 8 pm on 5 September, 2017 resulting in her death at the scene. Although investigations are yet to be completed, it is suspected that some contract killer was hired by someone to stop the publication of the latest issue of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, Kannada fortnightly newspaper which is being linked to her death.
Gauri Lankesh was the editor of this fortnightly newspaper. She authored several books. She was an alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi.
Gauri was a fierce journalist and the most vocal critic of right wing forces. Gauri started her career as a journalist with the The Times of India in Bangalore. She worked for the Sunday magazine and Eenadu' television channel. She was the daughter of the famous P Lankesh.
She was in Delhi few months back wherein there was a discussion in the vicinity of Gandhi Peace Foundation on her article saying “personal is political”. She was a panelist at the National Convention of Human Rights Defenders co-organised by People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Spaces (PCSDS) at Rajendra Bhavan, New Delhi.
As a journalist she had joined the struggle of Basava, the 12th century philosopher, social reformer and poet in the Shaivaite Bhakti movement who fought against social evils. She connected with efforts of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society. She detested patriarchy.
To paraphrase Harish Khare’s observation, it indeed apparent that someone somewhere whispered to someone-“will no one rid me of this turbulent journalist?” This whisper led to the assassination of Gauri Lankesh by some contract killer.
Amidst global and national outrage against her death, if her killer and their benefactors are not identified it will unequivocally demonstrate the abysmal failure of the concerned security and intelligence institutions. It is high time Karnataka Government set up a fast track court to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.
She was a staunch critic of right wing politics and wrote extensively about it. She was supportive of student struggles against fascism, privatisation of education, communalisation and caste and gender based discrimination. At the 81st Kannada literary conference held at Shravanabelagola, Gauri had remarked that the Dalit author Perumal Murugan was criticized by right-wing groups for depicting a childless couple, who indulge in consensual sex rituals outside of marriage in order to have children. She had pointed out that the Brahmin novelist S. L. Bhyrappa had also depicted the similar Niyoga practice in his novel Parva, based on Mahabharata. Gauri Lankesh was supportive of both these writers, but questioned why the right wing groups that were offended selectively by Perumal Murugan were not offended by Bhyrappa feigning amnesia.
Gauri’s death is not a death in isolation. Some 30 Indian journalists have been murdered due to their fearless independent writings between 1992 and July 2016 with impunity so far. Her assassination is similar to the killings of Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind pansare and Dr. M.M. Kalburgi. Gauri’s assassination is a failure of Governments and ruling political and ‘non-political’ parties.
MediaVigil supports the demand for a setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the groups operating behind the assassinations of journalists, scholars and dissenting voices and recommends remedial institutional action for safeguarding freedom of expression.
MediaVigil takes cognizance of P. Sainath’s contestation against categorization of the insane core, of right-wing fundamentalist politics as ‘fringe elements’ and their relationship with some media owners who are amongst the biggest beneficiaries of government’s privatisation of public resources.
MediaVigil, is a forum of Indian Institute of Mass Communication Old Students Association (IIMCOSA) for journalists from countries of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) working for the establishment of a New International Information and Communication Order. It has been working since 2000 and is part of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL).
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