Gauri Lankesh, feisty editor of “Lankesh Patrike” was assassinated outside her apartment on September 5. Many news organisations have shown their dissent on the killing of a fellow journalist, this tactic of muzzling the dissenters is not new as in past we have seen the death of public intellectuals like Kalburgi, Pansare and Dabholkar for speaking their heart out against Hindutva outfits, etc.
Lankesh’s assassination bears an eerie resemblance with the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Anna used to work for the Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, where she wrote extensively on subjects like Belson School siege and Chechen war, which the government didn’t want to talk about, and as an act of retaliation, she was murdered in the lobby of her apartment building on October 7, 2006.
Soon after Lankesh’s death, Indian prime time debates drifted to a binary between the left and right wing. The whole fiasco doesn’t end here, many anchors went ahead and analysed Gauri Lankesh’s last tweets. “Why do I feel that some of `us’ are fighting between ourselves? We all know our “biggest enemy”. can we all please concentrate on that?” she tweeted along with “Ok some of us commit mistakes like sharing fake posts. let us warn each other then. and not try to expose each other. peace… comrades”. It was suggested that this infighting could have led to her assassination and not the fact, that for a long time she was writing against BJP and right-wing Hindutva forces.
Apart from Indian media, foreign media have also come up with an exhaustive coverage of Gauri Lankesh’s death. In this piece, Al Jazeera spoke to Lankesh’s colleague and a fellow journalist Sudipto Mondal. Mondal was quoted as saying ,“Let’s not forget she could have landed any job she wanted; she was that good of a journalist. She could have been a senior editor at a mainstream English [language] newspaper. But she chose not to do that. She chose to work with a small Kannada publication. She taught herself how to write Kannada, as she did not start as a Kannada journalist.”And this opinion piece in The Guardian , highlighted the recent discourse of violence that India has took to curb dissent.
Expressing his dissent, Ramchandra Guha, in an interview with Scroll said: “It is very likely that her [Gauri Lankesh’s] murderers came from the same Sangh Parivar from which the murderers of [Govind] Pansare, [Narendra] Dabholkar and [M.M.] Kalburgi came.” In reciprocation, BJP sent a legal notice to Guha for linking the murder of Lankesh with Sangh Parivar.
Alas, the larger question about Gauri Lankesh still remains unanswered. Why she was killed? Was it her writing against ardent right-wing Hindutva followers, or the growing amount of intolerance, no one in their prime time debates dwells to find the answer to the question. As rightly said by P Sainath “Indian media is politically free but imprisoned by profit”, which one can clearly see that how certain channels run their debates in their prime times. India recently was ranked 133 among 180 countries in the latest World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog which further questions if our media is completely free from any biases or if we can even trust what the media propagates through its reports.