Gouri Lankesh was a journalist for Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada language news paper. Gouri was killed between 7.30 and 8.30 pm in the evening of 6th Sep, 2017. She was opening her gate of her home, when assailant/s fired at and killed her.
At 9 pm in the evening, I was watching India Today TV program hosted by Rajdeep Sardesai. Rajdeep had dedicated the program on Gouri Lankesh and was busy building a narrative on intolerance and freedom of expression. He was interviewing Aakar Patel, Teesta Setalvad and others who are vehemently anti BJP. Remember police had not started its investigation yet. Within 24 hour, vice president of congress party, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, accused RSS – BJP ideology for the death of Gouri Lankesh. New York Times published an editorial implicating rightwing goons for an atmosphere of hatred, that eventually lead to killing of Gouri Lankesh. The article suggested PM Modi must condemn the murder. Several articles were published by noted intellectuals and journalists like Mr. Ram Guha, Mr. Mukul Kesavan, Ms Saba Naqvi, and many others pointing at the climate of intolerance. Protests were held in several cities in memory of Gouri Lankesh. In one such meet, a non journalist Sehla Rashid, tried to eject and accredited journalist from Republic TV on charge that the channel was building false narrative on Ms. Lankesh’s death. Ofcourse, right narrative was right wing goons had killed Ms. Lankesh.
In the middle of all these arguments, debates, protests,no one answered a simple question, where is the proof? If police is clueless, if police has announced a reward of 10 lac rupee for any clue in the murder, how does all polictians, intellectuals, journalists, activists and even New York Times knew who killed Gouri Lankesh? If they know, why don’t these people share the information with police and accept the reward money? In the eventuality of police investigation revealing that right wing was not involved in murder of Gouri Lankesh, then would New York Times still demand condemnation from Mr. Modi?
It is important to remember that Ms. Lankesh had fought a case with BJP members of parliament, Mr Prahlad Joshi. She lost her case. She was out on bail for making appeal to higher court. In the line of this evidence, does BJP has any motive to eliminate Ms. Lankesh? Brother of Ms. Lankesh had said on national TV that she was getting threat from ultra left. While her sister had said that it was right wing that were threatening Ms. Lankesh. A t matter which is so complex, should all concerned not hold their horses and wait for police to complete its enquiry and make an arrest?
It is amusing that people are asking for condemnation from prime minister, but keeping quiet about chief minister of state who is expected to oversee law and order. Gowri Lankesh murder is linked with those of Govind Pansare – Narendra Dabholkar – M M Kalburgi. It is important to remember that all these crimes happened when UPA II was in power at centre, and Congress governments in Maharashtra and Karnataka. No headway has been made in any cases. A leaked report suggest that a 7.65 mm pistol was used in the murder of Ms. Lankesh. It has also emerged that similar type of weapon was used in the assassination of Mr. M. M. Kalburgi and Mr. Gobind Pansare. If police has such a viable lead, why are they not able to capture the killers? Mr. Kalburgi lost his life nearly two years before. It is plausible that police does not know anything beyond this information. It is also possible that, police may know the common link but fearful of revealing the same keeping in mind the power that be. In that case, it is doubtful we shall ever know who killed Ms. Lankesh.
According to Dhananjay Mahapatro, Committee for Protection of Journalists mentions names of forty one Indian journalists, including Ms. Gouri Lankesh, who lost their lives since 1992. In addition, between June 1 and October of 2015, another six journalists were murdered. We have never heard of any outrage for these lives lost. May be Ms. Lankesh augurs a start. On the other, because Ms. Lankesh belonged to left, an outrage was orchestrated.