Culture

UNESCO Condemns Gauri Lankesh’s Murder, Asks Government to Protect Others Receiving Threats

“Gauri Lankesh has been a symbol of the struggle to practice journalism fearlessly and raise a voice for the underprivileged. Her loss to journalism and to society is irreparable.”

Members of the National Human Rights and Crime Control Organisation in a candle-light vigil in Amritsar condemning the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh. Credit: PTI/Files

Members of the National Human Rights and Crime Control Organisation in a candle-light vigil in Amritsar condemning the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh. Credit: PTI/Files

New Delhi: The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Media Freedom Committee has condemned the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, also stating that Lankesh was a “trenchant critic of religious as well as casteist fundamentalist forces”.

The statement say:

Through the years, Gauri Lankesh faced innumerable threats and fought several criminal defamation cases. Appealing against a conviction in a recent defamation case, she had stated that she would not be cowed down by threats and intimidatory tactics.

Gauri Lankesh has been a symbol of the struggle to practice journalism fearlessly and raise a voice for the underprivileged. Her loss to journalism and to society is irreparable.

The committee has asked that the Karnataka government act swiftly in its investigation into the murder. Bringing up the fact that rationalist thinker M.M. Kalburgi’s killers have not yet been found and saying that extremist forces are operating with impunity, they have also said that the state must protect other independent thinkers and not allow history to repeat itself. “…given the existing climate of impunity, where the killers of the writer MM Kalburgi are yet to be traced, the government of Karnataka must make all attempts to ensure the protection of all those intellectuals and writers who have been issued death threats by right wing and fundamentalist forces,” the statement says.

Lankesh was shot dead at her home on September 5 evening, when she answered the door. She was the editor of the weekly Gauri Lankesh Patrike and was known for her bold opinions. The probe into her killing has revealed significant similarities with the murder of Kalburgi, who shot dead outside his home in Dharwad, Karnataka in August 2015, officials have said.

  • Anjan Basu

    I will not be surprised if a torrent of abuse were now to pour down on the UNESCO on account of the unambiguous stand that they have taken on this issue. India’s official conscience-keepers will in all probability claim that the UNESCO have no locus standi in India’s ‘internal matters’. It is all very well to argue on those lines, except that, at this rate, we in India will quite soon proclaim to the world outside that India is out of bounds for all civilised behaviour.