Gauri Lankesh, veteran journalist in Kannada and a staunch critic of Hindutva politics, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen at her Bengaluru home on September 5th. As writers, artists, and activists committed to the principles of diversity, justice, and democracy enshrined in the Constitution, we condemn this political murder in the strongest possible terms.
Lankesh’s murder is certainly not an isolated incident. From all indications, it is part of a series of killings meticulously planned and implemented. On 20 August 2013, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, president of Maharashtra Andha Shraddha Nirmoolan Samiti, was shot dead by two ‘unidentified gunmen’. Govind Pansare was fatally attacked by gun-wielding assailants on 16 February 2015. He died four days later. A well-known writer in Kannada and former Vice Chancellor of Hampi University, Dr. M. M. Kalburgi, was shot dead on 30 August 2015 at his home in Dharwad. The failure to act against the perpetrators, either out of design or incompetence, has emboldened the perpetrators and their supporters. Today they issue celebratory statements and further threats.
It is not a mere coincidence that these groups or individuals are close to parties whose politics thrive on communal hatred. The modus operandi in all the four cases is exactly the same. All four are associated with similar jubilation in the right wing camp.
The Karnataka government should respond immediately to the people’s demand that the murderers of M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh be convicted for their crime without any further delay.
We urge fellow citizens to stand up and speak out against this heinous trend of intimidating and murdering our democratic polity.
Antara Dev Sen
Dalip Kaur Tiwana
Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
Maya Krishna Rao
Pradnya Daya Pawar
Vasant Abaji Dahake