A week after journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in Bengaluru, more than 10,000 people took part in a rally in the city in Tuesday, each saying “I am Gauri”, and pointing out that “communal forces have taken the country to the brink of fascism”. “For the past one-and-a-half decades, Gauri Lankesh was at the forefront of struggles against anti-constitutional and anti-human elements. Not only that, there have been serial murders of several progressive thinkers who upheld the values of our constitution,” the protesters announced at the meeting.
They urged the Karnataka government and the police to fast-track the probe into the murder of Lankesh, 55, and others before her. Condemning the act of celebrating and justifying Lankesh’s murder by a section of supporters from the Sangh Parivar, Sanatan Sanstha and the Sri Ram Sena, a statement issued at the meeting said, “We, at the resistance meeting, condemn this inhuman behaviour, which is not supported by any religious teaching.”
The resistance meeting followed a protest walk across Bengaluru’s old city areas. It featured, among others, 99-year-old freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, writers Devanuru Mahadeva and Uday Prakash and actor and Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad among several literary personalities from Karnataka; retired judges Justice Venkatachalaiah and Justice Sadashiva; journalists P Sainath, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sagarika Ghose; economist Irfan Ali Engineer, Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan; CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury; activists Teesta Setalvad, Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Kavita Krishna; Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani; and Lingayat seers Thontadarya Swami Nidumadi and Murugamut Swami Shivamurthy.
Targeting the Prime Minister, Swami Agnivesh said, “The general secretary of UN Human Rights Council has condemned Gauri Lankesh’s killing. I wish PM Narendra Modi would have spoken a word on it.” Stating that Lankesh regarded him as her son, Dalit leader Mevani vowed to fight until his last breath to help growth of progressive thinking in India.