While some of you were in the traffic and others may have just reached their shelters after a hectic day at work, while you were just deciding your menu for dinner or probably planning to go out, a lady in Bangalore was shot in her head, right outside her house, just when she returned from work. Gauri Lankesh, a vociferous journalist, and a staunch activist was silenced forever on 5th of September when two young men casually drove up to her house and showered bullets on her.
Lankesh is not the first in the list of the one’s assassinated for boldly putting out their thoughts to the world. Narendra Dhabolkar and MM Kalburgi from the same region were also shot down at point blank range openly in 2013 and 2015 respectively. A lot like Lankesh, both the men were known for their rationalist thoughts and their fearless attitude towards educating the society of the same. Unfortunately, intolerant society could not stand their words and decided to shut them forever. What they forgot was the fact that you may kill an individual but not their thoughts.
There are various angles to this murder mystery if observed closely. Hindutva or right wings were the ones who were immediately blamed after the incident but as the Lankesh’s later life unfolded, possible links of Maoist and Naxalites were also introduced in the murder. While there are others who believe that her close associations with Kanhaiya and Khalid may have been the reason behind the assassination since she referred to them as her adopted children.
Gauri Lankesh was the editor of ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ a weekly Kannada tabloid in addition to owning some other publications. Her work was her medium to voice opinion against the communal politics and the caste system. She strongly criticized right-wing and Hindutva politics as was evident from her work published in various media outlets. She strongly advocated the freedom of press. Her major concern was the depreciating status of freedom of expression of views and opinions in our country. She felt that people are targeted here because of their ideologies and beliefs that are against the majority.
True to her apprehension, she was recently charged with defamation wherein she faced conviction with six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000. However, she did manage to bail herself out for the reasons of appealing in the higher court. Having said this, she was always surrounded with controversies because of the idea she had her belief in.
Lankesh was often tagged as a Maoist sympathizer by the people who did not support her. She had a reformative attitude towards the Naxalites and was inclined towards helping those individuals in the society who drifted from their paths but wanted to give up the guns and return back to the mainstream society. In fact, she played a vital role of negotiator between the Naxals and the government.
Who is and who isn’t behind the murder will be discovered only in times ahead, after the police does its job right, but what is unacceptable invariant of time, is the tragic shootout of an individual that had certain beliefs and ideologies different from the rulers. Killing a person can never be justified!