Bengaluru: Calling Gauri Lankesh a frail woman who took on big leaders hell bent on forcing Hindutva ideology, noted rationalist Narendra Nayak, the seventh name in the hitlist of the accused arrested for Gauri's murder, said that Gauri lived for equality, justice and democratic India and died for it.
Speaking at the 'Freedom of Expression' convention here on Wednesday, organised to mark the first death anniversary of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, Mr Nayak said that Gauri knew her fight was against an ideology that was massive, but stood by her legacy and fought relentlessly till her last breath.
"Gauri was a frail woman who wanted to fight the Hindutva forces alone. She knew there were threats to her life, but refused any gunman to protect her. I am alive today because I opted for security," Mr Nayak said, adding that he was proud that he was on the hit list as it meant he was speaking the truth. "These are nothing but terrorists who want to terrorise us and shut us up," he said.
Mr Nayak said that an attempt to intimidate and kill him was made on March 10, 2017, and after that he opted for security. He recalled a phone call from Gauri's where she asked him to be cautious. He said that he continues to struggle against the Hindutva forces and their fake nationalism theories. "I don't say I am brave. I am a coward who can't run away from my conscience," he said to a jam-packed audience at the Jnana Jyothi Auditorium in Central College.
The convention was part of a series of events to mark the first death anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, organised by the Gauri Memorial Trust and Gauri Lankesh Balaga.
Attempt to silence progressive people
Actor and activist Prakash Raj said that the investigation into Gauri's murder has revealed the ideology behind it and exposed the a big conspiracy to silence progressive people, including Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, Dr M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.
"Dam is full and waiting to explode. They (Hindutva forces) are getting desperate and hence have become dangerous. We need to protect Hindu religion from them as they have made everyone a sheep. We should not be afraid of death as we all are bound to die," he said.
Hindutva goons are scared: Khalid
Student activist Umar Khalid on whom a failed murder attempt was made recently said that it was fear of losing a battle of ideology that prompted the killers to silence Gauri. "They (killers) think they shot dead Gauri a year ago but I don't think so. Those who wanted to kill Gauri killed a body and not her legacy. Her teachings and ideology are being carried ahead by thousands of Gauris including myself. The fact that they killed her shows how scared they were of her," Khalid said.
On the failed assassination attempt on him, he said, "If they think I would back off out of fear, they should understand that I am not from Savarkar's family like they are, but a follower of Bhagat Singh. I will never stop my struggle. In fact, I don't blame the two people who came to kill me but hold the central government and the man who comes on a prime time news show and brand me as an anti-national responsible. Let him prove me anti-national in any court," he challenged.
Mevani: Dalits being projected as Naxals
Jignesh Mevani, an MLA from Gujarat and a Dalit leader, said that a larger political conspiracy is being hatched in the country as Dalits are hitting the streets against these Hindutva forces. "Dalits are offended like never before. To discredit this nascent movement, the government wants to portray that Dalits are being instigated by Naxals. Human rights lawyers standing with Dalits are being discredited. Even in this falsehood, they are trying to extract sympathy for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.
"Things are getting worse every day. But the silence of common public is disturbing. When attack on Dabholkar, Pansare and Gauri happens, it was mostly civil society that made noise. The amount of unrest that it should generate among common people, the way common people should come out on the streets was comparatively less. It's good that Karnataka police have been able to take this to its logical end to some extent. They have also given leads in Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi murders as well," Mr Mevani said....