The killing of veteran journalist Gauri Lankesh at Bengaluru has deeply shocked the media fraternity of the country. There has been outpouring of grief and shock over her death. The modus operandi in the murder of Lankesh is similar to the killings of Malleshappa Kalburgi and the rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. Lankesh, 55, was the editor of a Kannada-language tabloid called Gauri Lankesh Patrike that took a fierce stance against Hindu nationalist organizations and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Her criticism of rightwing Hindu nationalism, and its adherents, was largely on ideological grounds. She had often spoke about threat to her life from these rightwing groups but continued to bitterly oppose their communal agenda.
Infact her death has been celebrated in social media forum by people who seems to support the ruling dispensation. This is despicable and deserves strong condemnation. How can people celebrate death of a fiercely independent woman who represented the modern Indian women? The incident also raises serious question mark over safety and security of journalist in India. Despite the constitutional right to free speech, Reporters without Borders in April this year ranked India 136 out of 180 countries in its press freedom index report, down three places from 2016. The liberal and independent journalists are increasingly becoming targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals. There is urgent need for press fraternities to stand united and ensure that brutual killing of Gauri Lankesh do not demoralize the press family. Hopefully the Karntaka government will ensure speedy justice by arresting all the people involved in the killing of Lankesh.