ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Message in a Bullet

The assassination of Gauri Lankesh sends out an ominous message to the media.

The assassin’s bullets that killed the feisty Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh on 5 September as she entered her home did more than kill her. They sent out a message to other journalists and critics not half as courageous as her who believe, as she did, that they have a right to question and criticise those in power, to dissent from dominant views, to investigate social evils, and to expose violations of human rights and corruption in high places—basically to do what journalists are required to do in a free country.

Lankesh was an outspoken critic of what to her were regressive and obscurantist forces working against the rights of Dalits and minorities. In her Kannada publication Gauri Lankesh Patrike, which she founded and built up after the death of her father P Lankesh (who had pioneered strong, critical tabloid journalism in Lankesh Patrike), Gauri Lankesh minced no words in criticising the powerful. She was a trenchant critic of the Narendra Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but was equally critical of the Congress government in the state. She had antagonised strong regional groups and supported individuals who challenged the government and the ruling party. From what we know, she had not received any direct death threats unlike the late Kannada writer and historian, M M Kalburgi who was also murdered, like Gauri Lankesh, by assassins who walked up to his house and shot him in 2015. He began receiving threats from Hindu militants as far back as 1989.

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Updated On : 11th Sep, 2017

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