'I am Gauri': in Bangalore, 15,000 demand justice for the murdered journalist
Gauri Lankesh was killed on September 5 and her assassins are still at large. The intellectual was known for her criticisms of the Hindu nationalist party in the government. Fr. Prakash: "Hers was an unstoppable crusade for the freedom of thought and expression."
Bangalore (AsiaNews) - More than 15,000 people yesterday took to the streets of Bangalore, Karnataka, demanding that justice for Gauri Lankesh, the Indian journalist assassinated last week, demanding justice. Among the protesters, many writers, journalists and intellectuals, condemning the murder of one of the most well-known opinionates in Indian democracy, famous for her critical views of Hindu nationalists of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, a Jesuit Refugee Service activist, recalls: "Gauri represented the best of free and fearless India, respecting the rights of every citizen, celebrating pluralism and, above all, defending the highest values of democracy! Gauri had the courage to challenge the Sangh Parivar and all sectarian people. She hated the caste system, struggled for the emancipation of women, fought for the poor and marginalized. Hers was an unstoppable crusade for the freedom of thought and expression. No one was spared when there was injustice in the center of the matter. "
The procession, organized by 21 activist groups, took off with banners with Gauri's image and "#IamGauri". Many people wore black bandanas on their heads, denouncing the fact that freedom of expression in India has long been jeopardized. Above all, the chant "Long Life to Gauri" was sung.
The 55-year-old journalist was director of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a daily newspaper in which she spoke in favor of democracy, secularism and free thinking. She was shot dead on Sept. 5th on her doorstep. Investigations are ongoing, but the police seem to be in the dark and have not yet made any arrests.
Gauri was famous for her criticisms of Hindutva's politics, while sympathizing with the Naxalite Maoist rebels who carried out a latent guerrilla war in various parts of the country, demanding reintegration into society. Her great contribution was also reiterated by the Indian bishops, on whose behalf the secretary-general of the Bishops' Conference Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas said, "We honor the courage with which she wrote, the convictions by which she lived, and the boldness with which she fought the forces of evil, hate and corruption."