Bengaluru: This was one moving tribute which activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh would have been really proud of if she had been alive today. On Monday which marked her 56th birth anniversary, writers, activists and politicians from across the country gathered at the Town Hall in Bengaluru to reaffirm their commitment to the ideals she stood for - the fight against fascism, the crusade for justice and a nation without fear.
'Gauri Day' brought activists, young and old on one platform - there was nonagenarian freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy and feisty Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani in his new avatar as a Gujarat MLA, there was the vocal critic of Hindutva politics, actor Prakash Raj not to forget Kanhaiya Kumar, the student leader who had the whole of JNU singing his tune. Among all of them stood out former JNU Students Union (JNUSU) vice-president Shehla Rashid who made the audience come alive over and over, with her aggressive attack on right-wing fanatics.
RSS is a terrorist organisation which carried out the first political assassination in the country. It was the RSS which killed Gandhi and now Gauri
— Shehla Rashid, Former JNUSU vice-president
Don’t give Modi a chance to destroy karnataka: Doreswamy
Where did the promise of eradicating unemployment and poverty, the promised justice and shelter for go, they asked, slamming the Centre for its silence on the violence against Muslims and Dalits. Doreswamy issued a clarion call asking the people Karnataka not to allow the 'common enemy’, to raise its head in the coming Assembly election. It will open the doors of destruction, he warned. "The assembly election was a litmus test for those who want to uphold secular, democratic values which the BJP is bent on destroying. The BJP is desperate to set up base in South India and spread its ideology. Don’t give Modi a chance to destroy Karnataka.”
Whenever there was an attempt to silence dissent, many voices were born. The death of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar from the University of Hyderabad gave birth to Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid and the death of Gauri has brought people like Jignesh Mevani and me on the same platform
— Prakash Raj, Actor/director
The veteran had words of advice for the police - look for Gauri's killers in Dakshina Kannada district, an active ground of the RSS. He voiced suspicions that the killers may be from the coastal belt. Prakash Rai recalled that people who spoke for society and against injustice had always been silenced by bullets. "Whenever there was an attempt to silence dissent, many voices were born. The death of Rohith Vemula, at the University of Hyderabad gave birth to Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid and the death of Gauri have brought people like Jignesh Mewani and me on the same platform," he said.