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Appeal

Appeal to rise against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh and to march for democracy

The assassination of Gauri Lankesh, two years after a similar horror was perpetrated on scholar M.M.Kalaburgi in Karnataka, is not an isolated act. The murder of rationalists Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar in Maharashtra in the very same fashion earlier also follow the same eerie pattern.   These killings are inseparable from the chain of killings of Dalits and Muslims in the name of ‘cow protection’, ‘religion’ etc. It is the dangerous continuation of the spread of right-wing ideology which has started in the 1990s. There have been many threats to activists who have been countering communalism, and this has continued even after her death, with the killing of Santanu Bhowmick and as seen from the way eminent Bahujan academic Kancha Iliah was grievously threatened and even physically attacked. 

As the first step in this process of building a strong resistance, we request one and all to join hands in an all India coordinated mobilization for Justice for Gauri on October 5th. 

In Delhi, this mobilization will take the form of a rally on October 5th 

TIME:  1 pm 

PLACE: Mandi House to Jantar Mantar 

We ask that you participate from the banners of mass organizations and social organizations. We do not wish to have any political parties attend under their banner. Please bring your own placards and banners accordingly. We ask that everyone come and march in two rows behind the main banner and that people do not crowd around or before the main banner leading the march. The march will have only two rows starting from the very front. Please see the list of participating mass organizations at the bottom of this email and confirm that your group is listed; if not please reply to ensure inclusion. All the participating groups’ names will be called out from the stage. 

We request all people to join this rally in the largest possible numbers. In several parts of India, there will also be programs for Justice for Gauri on the same day.  The question is: did those who killed Gandhi kill Gauri too?  The inquiry process will reveal who the perpetrators of her killing are. Meanwhile, the silence of the Prime Minister on the justification and celebration of Gauri’s assassination by people who are in various ways linked to the ruling dispensation is unacceptable in a civilized society. 

Being a founder member of Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike (The Communal Harmony Forum, Karnataka), Gauri Lankesh was actively involved in the resistance against reactionary forces along with other progressive sections of Karnataka who had responded pro-actively and consistently to counter the growth of such trend in the society. Yet the above assassinations and other developments clearly demonstrate that whatever has been done is just not sufficient to counter their terror.  But after the killing of Gauri Lankesh a stronger reaction has come from various sections of society with whom she had pledged her solidarity, including artists (including ‘mainstream’ cinema), journalists, ex-civil service officers, legal fraternity including former judges, academicians, religious heads (especially the Viraktha Basava tradition Swamijis of Karnataka), LGBT community etc and more. Youth and students formed the major chunk of the different mobilizations against this killing.  So, NOW is the time to respond. We appeal to every individual and collective, all those who think and feel for the future of humanity as a whole, to come forward and support the voice of unity for a harmonious and vibrant society.

We:
Demand that the police investigation primarily focuses on the most probable killers and the real political actors behind them as is the normal procedure. The most probable killers here are obviously only those who were Gauri’s main adversaries, the most retrogressive forces which had threatened to kill Gauri and which have justified and celebrated her killing. We demand that the state government in Karnataka expedites action in this direction by all means.

We insist above all that it is the utmost responsibility of the offices that are supposed to safeguard the constitutional values to discharge their duty impartially. But unfortunately, the present dispensation in the center is unashamedly upholding and supporting the forces which are destroying communal harmony and democratic values that are entrenched in our society. Hence it is all the more necessary that ‘we the people of India’ apply moral and political pressure on the prevailing regime, such that an unbiased inquiry is conducted not only to arrest the criminals behind the acts but also the extra-constitutional forces behind them.

Teesta Setalvad (Journalist, Activist, Educationist, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh)
Jignesh Mevani (Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh)
Kavita Krishnan (AIPWA, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh)
Annie Raja, NFIW
Shabnam Hashmi, Anti-communal activist
Mariam Dhawale, AIDWA
Poonam, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (PMS)
Ovais Sultan Khan, Anhad
Rajni Tilak, Rashtriya Dalit Mahila Andolan
Bittu, Karnataka Janashakti, WSS
Anand Patwardhan (Filmmaker, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh)
Irfan engineer (Anti communal activist, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh)
Narayana Rao, Telangana (Civil Liberties Committee, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh)
K. Neela (AIDWA, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh)
Vasu (Karnataka Janashakti, Forum against the assassination of Gauri Lankesh

Frontier
Oct 03, 2017


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