Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at point blank range outside her house on the evening of September 5th, 2017. Her 56th birthday on January 29th was commemorated as “Gauri Day.” Several activists and supporters of the feisty assassinated journalist gathered in Bangalore, her hometown where she also breathed her last.
Attendees such as Kavitha Lankesh, Gauri’s sister and famed filmmaker, Irom Sharmila, Jignesh Mevani, actor Prakash Raj, Kanhaiya Kumar and Teesta Satalvad were present on the occasion.
Lankesh was the editor of ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike,’ a weekly tabloid in Kannada. Her death caused huge uproar of outrage across the country among journalists. This culminated in prominent flag bearers of the profession like Rajdeep Sardesai, Satalvad and H. S. Doreswamy to kick start a trust fund to sustain the publication. Prakash Raj spoke on the event stating that, “Her death has sprouted new voices like trees.”
Gauri was a mortal enemy to the concept of Hindutva and ring wing extremists. Since her death, countless accounts of her friends have poured in describing how she always feared for them, never for her own life. Vocally critical of the current government, the last editorial that she published prior to her death was on fake news that may have possibly contributed to the victories of the BJP.
It often seemed like she was on a crusade versus the machinery that was bent on altering the country’s fabric into Hinduism exclusively. She was a brilliant organizer with the ability to bring together varied social and political groups including Dalits, tribals, leftists and Muslims which is why she was considered dangerous by the opposition.
As time passes, we realize that we are still in the unknown about Gauri Lankesh’s murderer. However, when she died, various supporters of the BJP, and prominent members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS, very much a part of the same bloodline celebrated her killing on social media.
The Home Ministry of Karnataka was under extreme duress to produce results which sped up the investigation. According to the latest reports, the Special Investigation Team has identified the killers successfully and the investigation is currently in its terminal stages. Due to the sensitivity of these details, nothing has been disclosed.
The country waits with bated breath to receive full disclosure. But arresting Lankesh’s killers is not the end of the exercise. Her death served as a warning bell heard to dissenters of the government around the country. Lankesh’s killers deserve justice in its most brazen form, but the chapter will be completed when all protestors can speak without any fear, like Lankesh herself.