Yet another dissenter fall prey to assassin’s bullet. The voice of Gauri Lankesh, who took right-wing politics head on and a fearless critic of Hindutva force, has been silenced.
Over the past four years, Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare and M.M Kalburgi were gunned down. Now, a journalist joined them. What is the task of a journalist? Obviously to ask questions, the questions might be difficult or uncomfortable. A journalist’s task is to hold the establishment to account and to give voice to the voiceless. Gauri Lankesh was doing just that. She vehemently stood up for these values. That’s why her life was cut down by the obscurantist force.
She had been targeted earlier too. Just about a year back, she was sentenced to six months in jail. She was convicted of defamation in cases filed by two BJP leaders in Karnataka. She was released on bail. The conviction was supported by none other than the BJP’s IT cell in-charge, who bayed for blood of other journalists too. He sent a veiled warning through his tweet.
Recently, media persons in India are seen cozying with the powers that be. They are blatantly supporting the government. Some are pretending neutrality and indifference. We are very much aware of the dirty game played by them in Kashmir. The space for independent journalism is shrinking.
According to a report, through last year and the first quarter of this year 54 journalists have come under attack. The minister of state for home affairs has revealed a startling fact. According to him, there were 142 journalist deaths during 2014-15. In the global Freedom of Press index, India’s position is now 136. It has dropped three places down from the previous year.
It has been found that the perpetrators of these kinds of murder get away scot free because of the enormous influence they wield. Even now the murderers of those three killed, Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi, have not been caught. There is every chance that this time too, this diabolic act will be repeated.
This heinous killing seeks to send out a rather chilling message. The message is not only for journalists but for all independent thinkers- keep silent or you could be the next on line.
But we should do exactly the opposite. We should close ranks and stand fearlessly against the obscurantists and for the voiceless.
We will not remain silent.