Two months back, an Indian Journalist was shot dead at her home in Bengaluru.The whole of nation condemned her murder and she was buried with full state honors.
On the evening of 5th September, Gauri Lankesh returned home and when she was opening the gate to enter she was shot by her assassin who fled on a motorbike. According to the post-mortem report, she got 3 bullets damaging her heart and lungs.
Who is Gauri?
Gauri Lankesh was one of the outspoken and courageous journalists. She worked at the Times of India and later Lankesh Patrike an Independent Newspaper. She is known for openly criticising some of the ideologies of the Hindu nationalists. She was convicted of criminal defamation, based on a petition by two BJP leaders who she had written about. The case was being appealed when she was killed.
Regardless of the person’s background, their caste, race and personal beliefs, a fundamental right of a democratic nation is freedom of speech. It is spine-chilling to even think about the incident because a person was killed for expressing her opinions. Many other activists and leaders were killed in an eerily similar way for voicing out their opinion which conflicted with the majority. For example, Govind Pansare, a Communist leader, community organizer, and columnist, was killed in a small town near Mumbai. The political and cultural complexities of the beef ban are up for another debate but killing a man because he ‘might’ have eaten beef is inhumane. People have taken upon themselves to judge what is right and wrong. There were incidents of actors getting attacked for their comments, movies getting banned for potential ‘anti-nationalist’ dialogues. Things are bound to get uglier if the issue is not addressed. Intolerance has indeed become the ‘word of the year in Indian dictionary.
Yes, it is a pride to say that we are Indians but at a fundamental level we are all human beings and the nation will be a lot more peaceful if we act like one. India prides on being one of the most culturally, linguistically, socially and politically diverse country in the world and yet it supports being secular and democratic. It is high time that we stop making ‘taking offense’ as our second favorite hobby and start looking at things critically and evaluate them. Right to live and express is a basic right for any human.If that is deprived in a country, are we safe and secure living there?