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NATIONWIDE PROTESTS OVER MURDER OF WOMAN JOURNALIST IN KARNATKA, LAID TO REST WITH FULL HONOURS

September 06, 2017 07:25 PM

Bengaluru/New Delhi/Chandigarh (Face2News)

Amidst nationwide protests of the murder of woman journalist Gauri Lankesh, thousands of people bade tearful farewell to renowned Kannada journalist-activist laid to rest with full state honours here on Wednesday.A police honour guard gave a gun-salute to the slain journalist.Her mortal remains were buried at a cemetery in Chamarajpet in central Bengaluru.Gauri Lankesh hailed from the Lingayat community that does not cremate its dead.

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 Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy and a host of other leaders were present at the burial ground to pay their last respects to her.People gathered to witness the funeral chanted “Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe” (Long live Gauri Lankesh).

 Her brother Indrajit Lankesh said, Gauri Lankesh, 55, was on Tuesday night shot dead by three unidentified men who fired seven bullets at her as she returned home from her office in the city. Two bullets hit her in the chest and one in the forehead.She was the editor of popular Kannada tabloid “Gauri Lankesh Patrike”.Protests erupted throughout the day as journalists, activists, writers, thinkers, women organisations and others gathered across the country condemning her dastardly killing. Widespread protests by journalists, writers, politicians and civil society erupted on Wednesday in several cities, including Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, to condemn the killing of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.

The Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Karanataka government on the killing even as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Kannada journalist’s murder on Tuesday night at her house in Bengaluru.

Journalists, activists, writers, thinkers and women’s organisations participated in Bengaluru and across the state in protests condemning the killing of Lankesh, the editor of Kannada tabloid ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’.

People gathered at the Town Hall in Bengaluru for a silent protest, holding placards. “You can kill a person but not their ideas,” read one placard. A silent demonstration was also staged by journalist groups at the Victoria Hospital grounds, where the autopsy was being conducted. Across the state, protests were witnessed in Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, Dharwad and Koppal, among other regions, where citizens took to the streets.

Journalists in Mysuru, wearing black ribbons around their shoulders, also held a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.

In New Delhi, the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) expressed deep shock and outrage at the incident.In a statement, it said: “The silencing of a journalist in this manner has dangerous portents for Indian democracy.”Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Vice President Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Union Minister Smriti Irani and Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhter , Actress Shabana Azami, were among those who condemned Lankesh’s killing.

“The US Mission in India joins advocates of press freedom in India and worldwide in condemning the murder of respected journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru,” the US Embassy said in a statement.In November 2016, she was sentenced to six months in jail after a defamation case was filed against her for a report against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. She was out on bail pending an appeal.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah cancelled all his engagements, including a day-long trip to Kerala, and ordered an SIT probe into the assassination.

“An SIT has been formed, headed by an Inspector-General-level officer, to investigate the journalist’s killing,” the Chief Minister told the media after meeting top police officers at the state assembly Vidhan Soudha. Asked if the investigation could be handed over to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team, Siddaramaiah said: “Have left it to the Director General of Police (R.K. Dutta) who will speak to the state Home Minister (Ramalinga Reddy) and decide.”The Karnataka Police has formed three special teams to nab the killers.

The BJP blamed the Congress-led Karnataka government for the incident. Union Ministers H.N. Ananth Kumar and Nitin Gadkari said it was for the Karnataka government to “seriously” probe the case and nab the culprits.Prominent journalists gathered at the Press Club of India here on Wednesday condemned the murder of senior Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, and said that by gunning her down, the killers want to spread fear among journalists.

“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 journalist community that if you do this, one of you will be killed. It can be any one,” he said, noting 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 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.

Protests erupted across the country throughout the day as journalists, activists, writers, thinkers, women’s organisations and others gathered across the country, condemning her dastardly killing.

In Chandigarh Journalists of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh staged a protest here against the murder of a journalist of a weekly tabloid in Bengaluru, expressing concerns about the growing attack on the journalists across the country.Holding placards, several journalist groups, under the banner of the Chandigarh Press Club, held protests in Sector 17 shopping complex.

Describing the killing as the “blackest day in the history of journalism”, Club Senior Vice-President Saurabh Duggal demanded protection to all the journalists to ensure the freedom of the Press.He said the government should crack the case without any delay and arrest the assailants.“This is a fight for ideologies. If the communal forces are thinking that they are going to suppress the thinking of others through violence, this will not be going to happen,” Duggal said.

It was high time for the journalists to come together and raise their voice against the continual incidents of silencing the voice of the media persons, senior journalist Sandeep Dixit said.

Large number of writers, teachers, students, social activists, and advocates reached Plaza, Sector 17, Chandigarh to protest against the brutal murder of Gauri Lankesh, a journalist raising voice against communal politics in the country. This is a fourth murder in an attempt to muffle the voices of dissent in the country.

Addressing the gathering Prof. Tejwant Singh Gill, President Progressive Writers Association said that an atmosphere of fear is being created in the country so that people dare not to express their unhappiness with what is happening in the country. If the Vice President of India also expresses this concern openly, the situation must be much graver than what we normally feel, said Prof Gill. Prof Sukhdev Singh Sirsa, President, Punjabi Sahit Academy, while condemning the cold blooded murder of Gauri, warned the governments of the time that if immediate steps are taken to arrest the culprits of the chain murderers, including that of Gauri Lankesh, the people of India would not lie low. They are ready to take cudgels with the indifferent attitude of the governments. Dr Sarabjit Singh, President, Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, expressed deep concern with the way rational and sane voices are being muffled only to make space for the right wing politics based on caste and religion. It is high time to respond to the public sentiments. Dalit and minority voices were never so insecure in independent India as of now, he added. Prof Manjit Singh, President, Democratic Swaraj Party, addressing the gathering said that by letting the murderers of Pansare, Kulburgi, Dhabholkar and now Gauri Lankesh roam free what message the governments are giving to the people. If these murders and suicides by dalit students are any indicator to the future of India, I wonder if the world outside is going to trust our democracy any longer, he added. Could we be in the position to claim that we are different from the terrorist states against which we are trumpeting all over the world? Kamaljit Singh of CPI-ML Liberation warned that we will not allow scuttling the hard earned democracy and will fight against the cold blooded murders of social workers and activists. Adv Lavneet Thakur, Gurjasjit Singh, Com. Yashpal, Sardara Singh Cheema, Dr P.L. Garg, Jarnail Singh from Taraksheel, Dr Gurmail Singh, and many more advocates and social activists raised their voice against the murder of Gauri while demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. The meeting ended after lightening candles to pay homage to the departed soul of Gauri Lankesh.                    (input agencies/media reports)

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