Journalists, civil society activists and students gathered in good numbers at the Press Club of India here on Wednesday to condemn and protest the killing of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, and said that by gunning the journalist-activist down the killers want to spread fear among those critical of fundamentalist forces.
The organisers of the protest meeting — the Press Club of India, Editors Guild of India and Indian Women’s Press Corps — announced a march would be held here in the next three days in a tribute to Lankesh.
“The killing of Gauri Lankesh is a serious attack on democracy,” said veteran journalist H.K. Dua.
“Apparently they were afraid and by killing Gauri Lankesh they want to spread fear in the journalist community that if you do this, one of you will be killed. It can be anyone,” he said. He noted that 11 journalists have been killed in recent times.
Senior journalist Ravish Kumar said that the leaders of the country only believe in “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (save daughter, educate daughter) as a slogan but not in implementing it.
“One mob has been created which can kill people alone or in the presence of thousands of people,” he said, adding that these mob members are not afraid of killing anyone.
“Do not speak, otherwise your condition will be like Gauri Lankesh,” he said.
Veteran journalists including Seema Mustafa, Saeed Naqvi, Paranjoy Guha Thakurata and Om Thanvi attended the protest meet and extend their solidarity against forces of intolerance.
“I didn’t know her personally but had read her articles. From her writing she seemed a very bold person. There was an ideological consistency in her views. Her last article was on ‘fake news’, which was a very balanced piece…,” senior journalist and editor Om Thanvi told IANS.
“On whether the situation is hopeless against such fundamentalists, I will quote Gandhi only who had said that however many enormities the world has seen, they have in the end been defeated by the forces of good. History is privy to that. If Modi doesn’t change his ways, he will not survive for long,” Thanvi added.
A call to unite against the intolerant elements came from Swami Agnivesh, a social activist, who pointed out that the agenda of such people as killers of Lankesh is to stifle the secular and socialist voices.
“It is high time that the country got united. We must take sides now. There are big political parties which are patronising such elements, which do not want socialist, secularist forces to breathe,” he said at the event.
He, however, remarked that despite the incident, the fundamentalist wave is on the wane and not as strong as it was three years back.
“Forces which seem powerful now will become weak in a couple of years. Modi’s government is not as powerful as it was three years back. It has lost its credibility now,” he added.
Protests erupted across the country throughout the day as journalists, activists, writers, thinkers, women’s organisations and others gathered across the country, condemning the dastardly killing of Gauri Lankesh.