Gauri Lankesh shot dead in Bengaluru. Twitter fumes in anger, calls for protests across the country

From Bangalore to Delhi, several protests are being organised across the country to condemn the brutal murder of Gauri Lankesh.

Senior journalist and well-known activist Gauri Lankesh was on Tuesday shot dead outside her residence in Rajarajeswari Nagar in Bengaluru. Unknown assailants fired 7 bullets at her from a close range while she was unlocking the door of her house. She was reportedly being followed by three men since the time she left her office for home on Tuesday.

Gauri had been a fierce voice against the right wing ideology and policies. She was the owner and editor of a Kannada newspaper Gauri Lankesh Patrike. In several interviews, she had spoken about how worried she was at the state of freedom of expression in India.

In 2016, a Bangalore court had convicted her of defamation in two cases and sentenced her to six months in jail. The two cases were filed by Dharwad MP Pralhad Joshi and BJP leader Umesh Dushi against a report published on them in her newspaper on January 23, 2008. Holding her guilty, the court had then said that the article was baseless.

However, she had then defended herself saying that there are some people who wanted to see her behind bars. She had been granted anticipatory bail in the case.

As soon as the news of her death broke out, journalists and those who followed her work remembered her as a gutsy woman who would never fear to speak her mind. Social media is flooded with angry reactions from people condemning her murder. Several questions have been raised about how the free voice is being silenced by such murders and whether there is any right to dissent left in the society.

Parallels are also being drawn with the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, and MM Kalburgi. Narendra Dabholkar, anti-superstition activist and one of Maharashtra’s most vocal rationalist, was shot dead in 2013 by two men on a motorcycle while he was on his morning walk. Another rationalist Govind Pansare was among many who stood near Dabholkar’s body condemning his murder but just a year and a half later, he too was shot near his home and died 4 days later. In the same year, MM Kalburgi, who fiercely spoke against superstition and idol worship was shot and killed in his home.

From Bangalore to Delhi, several protests are being organised across the country to condemn the brutal murder of the veteran journalist.

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