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Why India should Awaken to The Brutal Murder of Secularism and Freedom of Speech?

Sunday 10 September 2017, by siawi3

Source: https://sabrangindia.in/article/why-india-should-awaken-brutal-murder-secularism-and-freedom-speech

Why India should Awaken to The Brutal Murder of Secularism and Freedom of Speech?

Written by Saisha Bacha

Published on: September 7, 2017

A young Indians words on Gauri Lankesh ’s brute killing

RK Raghavan

Free Speech was mercilessly murdered on the evening of September 5, 2017 as Shri Gauri Lankesh breathed her last. The question we all need to ask ourselves is, what now? Should we all just sit stumped, in mourning? Or should we speak up against the injustice, keeping her firebrand spirit alive?

India has been termed as “Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel” by the global advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The report said that India was ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan in this regard. How unfortunate it is, that our country which has freedom enshrined in its Constitution under Article 19, has become home to murderers of free speech. Is this the cost of performing one’s duty to safeguard society? Is this the cost of unshadowing the truth? Ms Gauri Lankesh was an Indian journalist-turned-activist from Bangalore, Karnataka. She worked as editor of Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada weekly started by her father P. Lankesh. Later, she ran her own weekly called Gauri Lankesh Patrike. She began her career with the Times of India. She earned the reputation of being a firebrand journalist at an early stage in her career. Today, India has lost one of her valiant daughters but must ensure that her life’s struggle and death do not go in vain.

In her interviews with media houses and publications, Ms Gauri Lankesh expressed her concerns over the crackdown on the freedom of speech as written in The Quint. She, who was seen as "anti-establishment" and "left leaning", went on to convey that these words would not deter her from her “Constitutional duty.” She said, “But I consider it my Constitutional duty to continue – in my own little way – the struggle of Basavanna and Dr Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society.”

How can those demanding an egalitarian society personified by freedom, unity and integrity, be termed as anti-national? Why are these foot soldiers of the Constitution maligned, marginalised and murdered? Why are these innocent voices rising against tyranny being supressed? Why have Narendra Dabholkar (in August 2013), Govind Pansare (in February 2015), Professor MM Kalburgi (in August 2015), Senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh (in September 2017) been murdered? Aren’t these questions which India needs to ask herself today? Shouldn’t India probe to see if there is a pattern in all these murders? Shouldn’t India identify the culprits and penalise them? Is it fair that those fighting to save the true spirit of nationalism are killed in the name of vindicating anti-nationalism? Isn’t it ironical that Freedom of speech and its murderers are allowed to thrive in the same country?

The Huffpost beautifully elucidated her dedication and courage saying, “Until her murder on Tuesday, Lankesh remained vocal against the tyranny of organised religion and caste, especially against the rapidly saffronising character of her home state. Undaunted till the end, Gauri Lankesh will be remembered for her gutsy journalism.”

Today, we’re faced with a tragedy, we’re hit by poignant questions, we’re stumped by the reality of our society. It is our choice to either sit quiet as we always do or wake up. Let’s make a judicious decision.