Rally marks one month of Lankesh’s murder

New Delhi: A cross-sectional rally, comprising hundreds of students and activists, was organised here on Thursday denouncing the RSS and allied groups for the death of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

The protest was organised to mark one month of Lankesh’s murder who was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru.

Her supporters have since alleged that her killing was the result of a vendetta by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for writing against the group in her tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike.

About 500 persons took part in the march comprising students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and other varsities. At least nine civil society groups joined the protest from Karnataka to demand justice for Lankesh.

“Around 150 people arrived last (Wednesday) morning. We are not here for Lankesh only but because of the ideology she stood for. We do not want such thing to happen again. We want justice not only for her but for others also,” Harshita J.K., a law student, told IANS.

“We don’t want only murderers but the people behind the act,” she said.

Mallige, founder of Karnataka Janashakti, an organisation fighting for women’s rights, told IANS that the resistance movement was started in her state and they recently decided to bring it to the national level.

“She gave up her life fighting against the fascist forces and we will not let her struggle go in vain,” she said.

Lawyer and founder member of Swaraj Abhiyan, Prashant Bhushan, said that RSS and its wings should be held accountable for inciting people in the name of religion.

“Divisive politics has become their agenda. In Kerala, even we are seeing how they are running the propaganda campaign of ‘love jihad'”

“They branded Rohingya refugees terrorists merely on the basis of their religion… What they are doing is completely against the law and they must be made accountable for it,” Bhushan said.

“The verdict in several students’ union elections has proved that they are against the politics of violence and these forces are past their prime,” he added.

A JNU student from Bengaluru told IANS about Lankesh’s feisty activism and why she thought her murder was a great loss to the community.

“She (Lankesh) had a huge following in Karnataka. She was very outspoken and was a prominent voice against the unholy alliance of RSS and Brahmanism.”

“There’s no doubt she was killed because of this,” Swati Simha, an M. Phil student of School of International Studies at JNU, who had been in several protests organised by Lankesh in her hometown, told IANS.

Harsh Mander, who was at the forefront of farmers’ protest in Rajashthan recently, exhorted those present to not remain silent and be evermore vociferous in their demands for basic rights.

“There is an atmosphere of fear in the country. Dalits and minorities are being taught to live in fear and trepidation…”

“This is the India for which Gandhi was killed. This India’s dream, how it would be like, is written in our Constitution. Gauri Lankesh lost her life for this very India. We must not let her voice go silent. We all need to be her voice,” the director of Centre for Equity Studies said.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association, All Indian Progressive Women’s Association, Saheli NGO, Progressive Writers’ Association, Basti Suraksha Manch, Swaraj Abhiyan, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan and National Federation of Indian Women participated in the demonstration along with scores of farmers, teachers and sex workers.