By Siddharth Rai
Killing in any civilised society is condemnable. The brutal killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh by unidentified assailants at her house in Bengaluru is a proof that there is no fear of law left in the criminals.
Gauri Lankesh was a noted journalist, author, social activist, supporter of left ideology and was currently associated with a Kannadiga tabloid as editor. She was also active against the so called right wing ideology and was out on bail in a defamation case against 2 BJP leaders.
Her last editorial titled “In the age of false news” was a damning take on right wing fake news factory.
Gauri was also a prominent face of all the protests and agitations against the BJP and to be more emphasized against PM Modi. Be it the Kanhaiya Kumar-JNU episode or cow vigilantism and lynchings across the nation. With all of these, she was also accused of ‘selective activism’ against one particular ideology and sparing the left wrongdoings and the Congress within that course.
This is what we’ve known so far about the case that also inclines anyone to think that the right wing ideology is necessarily responsible for the killing of the scribe.
Her tweets often started or ended with addressing the comrades that are essentially used by the left wing leaders to address their workers.
But here is the catch. One of the last tweets by Gauri Lankesh shows that she had a threat from within i.e. left wing workers as her brother also said at her full state honours funeral.
The reason for this threat was Gauri’s efforts to work with Naxals and bring some of them in the mainstream society.
Now, this turns you to rethink about the possible cause of her murder and also to decide on the ideology responsible for this killing.
Left or right, does that matter at all? What matters is that Gauri Lankesh has been murdered and the culprits must be brought to the books.
The killing invited nationwide protests with authors, scribes and politicians actively participating demanding justice. Politicians? Yes, politicians as well.
Here also you have both the wings right and the left criticising the killing and asking the government to take strict action against those who are responsible for this killing.
Despite disagreeing with Gauri Lankesh and her inclination towards an ideology which made her justify the killing of 72 CRPF jawans by Maoists in the line of duty, as a fellow journalist I decided to visit the Press Club in Delhi to protest against her killing.
Why did I go there? Because I do not follow any ideology and more importantly as a human being I can’t justify anyone’s killing.
The scene at the Press Club was even more pathetic. What was supposed to be a meeting of the journalists condemning the killing of a fellow scribe, the stage was occupied by politicians with a few wannabe politicians like Kanhaiya Kumar standing behind them.
And the real stakeholders of the Press Club, journalists were seated in front of them to listen to the utter nonsense spoken by the politicians in search of yet another opportunity to set their agenda against a government of the opposing ideology.
With such state of affairs I decided not to waste any time at the Press Club I decided to take a walk back to my work. As a journalist, it was really painful for me to see scribes taking refuge of politicians to seek justice for the killing of a fellow journalist. But to take refuge of that system which is actually responsible for this killing and will do everything possible to delay the justice in the case as per their convenience.
This also made me think if the journalists are themselves responsible for downgrading their noble profession and making themselves vulnerable to the fight of the political ideologies.
I am a firm believer of an old saying, ‘The Pen is mightier than the Sword’ and it amazes me why the journalists don’t have the courage to fight for the cause on their own and don’t get vulnerable to politicians and the political parties in the name of any ideology.
I don’t believe in opportunist protests, nor do I believe that the real culprits of this murder will ever get caught. But I definitely feel pity for my profession and really hope that someday journalism gets the tag of ‘noble’ yet again.
As for the murder of Gauri Lankesh, the political circus of protest will continue for a few coming days till another incident related to one of the ideologies takes over the nation.
Siddharth Rai is a journalist based in Delhi. Views expressed here are personal.