Lankesh Protest

Thousands participate in a protest rally denouncing the killing of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh at the Central College Ground in Bengaluru Sept. 12, 2017. (IANS photo)

BENGALURU — Thousands of social activists, journalists, people's forums and various political party workers from across the country held a protest meet Sept. 12 at the Central College Grounds here to condemn the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.

A resistance meeting was held here and renowned journalists, activists and thinkers demanded that the Karnataka government "hastens" the Special Investigation Team's probe into the murder.

The 55-year-old editor of the Kannada weekly publication "Gauri Lankesh Patrike" was gunned down by unidentified men outside her home in Bengaluru’s suburbs Sept. 5.

Those present at the protest included CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, noted social activist Medha Patkar, journalists P. Sainath and Sagarika Ghose and civil rights activist Kavita Krishnan among others.

Lankesh's family mother Indira Lankesh and brother Indrajit Lankesh were also present.

A commemorative edition of "Gauri Lankesh Patrike" was launched at the venue.

Addressing the gathering, Patkar questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the killing.

"Why is the prime minister of the country silent on Gauri Lankesh killing even after a week?" she asked.

Sainath said: "The killings aren't over. There will be more, unless we stop them. What we're up against is the largest machine of hate."

In a statement, protesting journalists, activists and thinkers gave a list of demands and decisions pertinent to Lankesh's killing.

"The inquiry which is underway through the SIT formed by the state government should hasten and complete its enquiry and identify the powers behind the murder," said the statement.

"We are all witness to how several organizations and individuals affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Hindu Jagarana Vedike, Vishva Hindu Parishad et al have been celebrating Gauri Lankesh's murder," the protesters said.

"We at the resistance meeting condemn this inhuman behavior, which is not supported by any religious teachings."

"Gauri Lankesh was murdered only to silence the voice of humanity and democratic struggles that she represented," the statement said.

"Those of us here would like to tell her murderers loud and clear: 'I am Gauri, we are all Gauri,'" it added.

Wearing black head bands that read "I am Gauri," the protesters marched from the city railway station to the Central College Grounds.

Members of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist-Liberation, Karnataka Janashakthi, the Aam Aadmi Party and several student groups were also part of the rally.

Protestors sang protest songs and raised slogans such as "Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe" (Long live Gauri Lankesh) and demanded that Lankesh's assailants be brought to book.

The progressive forum "Gauri Lankesh Hatya Virodhi Vedike" organized the rally.

"The forum of progressive thinkers, writers, social activists, artistes and intellectuals was formed last Friday to fight against Lankesh killing and decided to hold the national-level 'resistance convention' here," forum convener K. Leela told reporters Sept. 11.

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