Gauri Lankesh Death: Searching for the Truth, Among the Living & the Dead

By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

As the Afghan proverb goes “there are no good men among the living, no bad ones among the dead”. The Kannad Journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder has generated a tremendous media storm all over the country. Though killing of a journalist is undoubtedly a condemnable act but there are political means to be achieved from her death which makes it our responsibility to find an order in this chaos.

Firstly and frankly, I never heard of Gauri Lankesh before her death, I didn’t knew what her ideology was nor what she use to write, her magazine name, her father, family, affiliations and rivalries were unknown to me. Suddenly while watching TV few days ago news started flashing of her death outside her home and also how it bore similarity to the deaths of people like Pansare, Dabholkar and Kalburgi. Unfortunate as these incidents were and more so the irresponsible tweets that were made against her, it seem to amaze me the coverage her death has received, as if the freedom of expression died with her. I mean her no disrespect but every person and organization with nationalistic and right wing views was blamed for this murder. It was being told that RSS and BJP had her removed and society is at large responsible for fostering this climate of hate which somehow has made our streets dangerous.

I somehow don’t agree with the picture that’s being painted and I’ll give you my reason. I see myself as a conservative and Lankesh’s view were a lot left on the political spectrum, so far left that she, as far as I know, didn’t had any patience for anything that didn’t conform to her ideas. For her, in my knowledge, all the social ills came from Hinduism and she took every opportunity to make that known. Mafias, corrupt politicians, extremist fringe groups and even Naxalites wanted to see her gone. So pointing fingers even before an investigation is not the rationalist way to go. And anyone with an iota of political sense knows that murdering your political rival will only make them a martyr, it could be that some people wanted the right to become the fall guy.

Why so much outrage over her death, when a lot many reporters, activists and journalist who don’t have influential friends or family, disappear for lot less, without a trace, without anyone raising an eyebrow. Take the example of Ramchandra Chatrapati, the journalist who dared to write against Ram Rahim, no marches were held to support him. Bahubalis in Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janta Dal(RJD) have a history of fear and intimidation against media and anyone who disagrees. Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal have been for decades and still are a very dangerous place for RSS and workers of other nationalist organizations. So why Congress and Left went silent on those deaths, why didn’t they come out in streets against Left violence? Why no candles were lit in their memory? If its about law and order, then perhaps Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and the ruling party in the state Indian National Congress should answer.

Death of a journalist is sad news for any democracy but the anger should not be selective.  Just because the dead was someone regular in the elite circles doesn’t mean every nationalist person has a blood on his hands. We know same courtesy will not be extended to us, should we face a similar fate.

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