Veterans throng the Jantar Mantar to protest Gauri Lankesh killing

Protest at Jantar Mantar (Photo credit: India Today)

-Nawed Akhter

September 7, New Delhi September 7 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, saw Delhites congregating to protest the brutal murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, at the gates of her home in Bangalore. Gauri was well known for her unedited criticism of the policies of the Central government, as well as the right-wing Hindutva forces.

Braving sultry weather on a working day, hundreds of people gathered to register their outrage about the killing of Gauri Lankesh. Among the gathering were media professionals, film makers, journalists, social workers, intellectuals and students.

All the speakers condemned the well-planned murder of this upright journalist. Most of them felt that the atmosphere of hatred created by the RSS men, and in many cases supported by the government, led to her murder. Kavita Krishnan drew parallels between what Henry II is believed to have said in frustration about Thomas Becket and the murder of Gauri Lankesh. “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Henry II is believed to have said, which, while not a direct command to kill the priest, led four of his knights to murder Becket. Likewise, the utterances of the RSS men, including members of the BJP, she said, have led to the murders of not only Gauri Lankesh but also those of rationalists Kalburgi, Pansare and Dhabolkar.

Mohammed Amir, who spent fourteen years in jail on completely false charges, also spoke of the unstinting support he received from Gauri Lankesh. Amir wrote of the time he spent in jail in ‘Framed As A Terrorist’, a book he co-authored with Nandita Hakser.

The list of speakers included, among others, JNU student Umar Khalid, Manoj Mitta, Monobina Gupta and Gauhar Raza.

Activists also registered their protest by wearing masks and costumes to portray the prevailing suffocating atmosphere in the country.

Organisers of the meeting Sanjay Kak, Saba Dewan and Rahul Roy too addressed the gathering and informed that a series of protests against prevailing political conditions of hatred and intolerance will be held in various towns and cities of the country on September 10.

Nawed Akhter is a film maker based at Gurgaon.

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