The murder of Gauri Lankesh

By:  Vandita Jadeja

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The cold blooded murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh on September 5th has evoked sharp reactions across the country. It is well known that working in small town India for journalists means seeing the most brutal aspects of the State. Gauri Lankesh worked for a Calcutta based English weekly in Delhi. After returning home to Bangalore, she took to writing exclusively in her mother tongue Kannada and inherited Lankesh Patridge, a Kannada weekly from her father and respected journalist, Lankesh. She took the job voluntarily because she know that handling a language weekly with a rock solid reputation for defying power in the pursuit of truth, she would see different things and meet different people.

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Based on the events she came across, often under dangerous circumstances, she wrote her column, ‘Kanda Hagey’, As I see it. Her last column was about Fake News and the huge propaganda machine of the ruling party that gave out lies and seeded the mainstream media and the social media with it. She was writing in a vernacular, and could not be put down.

She was shot dead by assailants unknown so far, but suspected to belong to the ultra-right wing groups whose lies she had long been criticizing and highlighting with undeniable proof. This incident made Gauri a part of the story about the State oppressing the whistle blowers and honest journalists probing corruption. The pretensions have begun now. With various reactions from across the nation, social media corridors are abuzz calling her names, some saying let’s mourn her today; the enquiries can begin at a later day.

According to one of the doctors who conducted the post mortem, Gauri Lankesh’s body showed three exit and entry points. The three bullets had been fired through the body and had exited. The doctors mentioned that she died of excessive bleeding due to hemorrhage and shock. Her vital organs had been damaged. The modus operandi in Lankesh’s murder is similar to that of Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, M.M.Kalburgi in Dharwad and Govind Pansare in Kolhapur. A senior policy office pointed out that two bike borne assailants were involved in all these four murders, where the pillion rider fired at the target. Cartridges were found at all the four sites and they were 7.65 mm cartridges, fired from the country made pistols.

The Karnataka Government has announced a Special Investigating Team for the probe, four different agencies including CBI is probing the four murders. Year after year in the world’s largest democracy, new leaders pop up. The leader feeds and enchants the young, by building visions of all sorts of colorful dreams about the great life bring created for them. The reality remains unexposed and anyone who tries to expose them is silenced before their time. This murder is also a reminder of the cases that have remained unsolved for many years. The fearless and strong journalist has been silenced but the mystery behind the murder remains.

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