I don’t know who killed Gauri Lankesh. But I know who are rejoicing over the death of the slain journalist because it’s very evident.
A Spectre we all were worried about has finally arrived and started spreading its roots in India. The Spectre that threatens everyone who doesn’t agree with its views. The Spectre of fascism that threatens the very base of democratic dissent. A Spectre that threatens Democracy itself.
The 55-year-old journalist, Gauri Lankesh, had returned home in her car on Tuesday evening. She was opening the gate to her house, when motorcycle-borne assailants fired at her indiscriminately with two bullets hitting her in the chest and one on her forehead, police officials said. She died instantly. Four bullets hit the compound wall of her building in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, the officials further added.
Gauri edited the Kannada tabloid, Gauri Lankesh Patrike, besides owning some other publications, and was known for her forthright views against hardline Hindutva politics.
When people mourned her death and condemned the cold blooded murder calling it as the murder of Democracy and the final nail in the coffin of Democracy on social media, there was a different set of people who expressed (and have done so in the past) a different opinion about her death.
A set of people rejoiced at her death on social media. If you take a close look at those people, you will find that they have one thing in common: the right wing ideology. They rejoice because the slain journalist has an ideology quite opposite to theirs. Yes, she was a socialist.
I am not here to discuss who killed her or why she was killed when things are shrouded in doubt and an investigation is ongoing. I’m not here to give a prejudiced statement based on assumption. Rather, I’m here to discuss about the things that happened on the night Gauri Lankesh was murdered. I’m not going to talk about those who mourned because mourning is the natural response to a death, more so when it’s a murder. What surprised me was not those who mourned but those who rejoiced over it. I’m sure I am not the only one to be surprised by the reaction of such people.
Gauri Lankesh has been a journalist for decades and has identified herself as someone with a left ideological orientation. But then is the cold blooded murder of a person who has been vocal against the government is something to celebrate?
Well, the response of the right wing has made it amply clear that the answer is ‘yes’. They call it a necessary sacrifice for the greater good of the nation. This is when most people who are neutral call it a murder of Democracy and all the journalists – well, I would say most – have joined together to give her a funeral she deserved.
Looking at the screen shots above, I feel the right wing ideologues have taken things way too far this time. They have completely lost any sense of humanity and compassion. When even those who share the same right wing ideology come out in the open and say it’s not nice to rejoice at the death of a person, the trolls start targeting even their own.
If this isn’t the beginning stage of Fascism I don’t know what else is. Fascism is not an opinion or an ideology, it’s a crime. I have encountered a few people who have been asking us to reason, debate and discuss. But one has to understand that Fascism cannot be debated. It deserves to be crushed. Dissent, the very essence of Democracy, is under threat. That’s how Fascism starts. What scares me is not the banter of the right wing but the silence of those, who are neutral, and of the so-called liberals.
Indians are now used to the vigilantism in the name of Cow protection done by the private army of so-called Gaurakshas (cow vigilantes). Online trolling and threats to those who are against the government isn’t new. Journalists such ase Rana Ayyub, Barkha Dutt, and Rajdeep Sardesai are constantly abused on social media. The sad part is that a lot of these online trolls are being followed by the PM himself from his personal account. That’s what makes the people question: is the PM silently and deliberately allowing such activities under his watch done by those he follows? (I stand by this despite the recent clarification by the BJP IT head, Amit Malviya, on this issue.)
It’s time we start speaking against this abusive culture and put an end to it. It’s now or never. Let’s unite together against the forces of Fascism. Let’s resist them and protect the values of Democracy. We should fight against those who try to shut every voice of dissent. Let’s protect the the very values of Democracy, dissent, and Freedom of Expression (FOE). As I am writing this article, people have started trending #BlockNarendraModi on Twitter, venting out their frustration and showing their resistance.
To quote Gauri Lankesh’s own words:
Those who understand technology are silent. I will do what I can and I will say what I should. These intolerant voices find strength in our silence. Let them learn to argue using words instead of threat.
Let’s do what we should and let’s do what we can.
The writer would like to be known by his nom de gurre, Arrow. He is a proclaimed liberal from the South, a political observer, and a free thinker. Twitter: @asyounotlike.
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