National Council of Churches condemns the brutal murder of a senior gusty, outspoken journalist, editor and activist Ms Gauri Lankesh. Ms Gauri Lankesh was very critical about the fascist ideologies, fascist forces in our country and right wing. Lankesh, with dauntless courage, even challenged political leaders and corruption. She was also a theatre person and a film maker, an artist who used her talent to expose truth and injustice.
Gauri was known for advocating freedom of the press. She worked as an editor in Lankesh Patrike and and ran her own weekly called Gauri Lankesh Patrike
Ms Lankesh was openly critical of the caste system. In 2015, some Brahmins accused her of criticizing the novelist S.L.Bhyrappa and Brahminism during the 81st Kannada Sahitya Sammelana (Kannada literary conference) held at Shravanabelagola. On 19 February 2015, protesters from the Hassan Zilla Brahmin Sabha (“Hassan district Brahmin Association”) organised a rally against her, urging the police to register a First Information Report against her.
According to Ms Lankesh “My Constitution teaches me to be a secular citizen, not communal. It is my right to fight against these communal elements. I oppose the caste system of the ‘Hindu Dharma’, which is unfair, unjust and gender-biased.”
The defamation cases filed against her did not deter her fearless spirit or stop her from speaking out against corruption , fascism and different forms of violence.
On 5 September 2017, three unidentified men shot Gauri to death at her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bangalore. while she was unlocking the main door of her house after returning from her office.
Gauri’s murder has similarities with the murder of former Vice Chancellor of Kannada University,Hampi, Dr M.M Kalburgi known for his outspoken criticism of the right wing two years ago.
National Council of Churches expresses deep appreciation for the fearless Ms Lankesh, mourns her brutal killing and declares solidarity with those who up holds secular values , freedom and truth
NCCI urges the State Government law enforcement machinery in Karnataka to bring to justice those who committed this horrific crime. NCCI on behalf of all its member Churches (which comprises of 14 million Christians in India) makes a humble plea to the Prime Minister of India Sri Narendra Modi to guarantee to all its citizens the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression (as per Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India) and put an end to forces that use violence for promoting communal ideology to disrupt the secular democratic fabric of India.
Posted by : Moumita Biswas : Executive Secretary, Women’s Concerns Ministry of National Council of Churches in India