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Protest Against Political Assassination of Gauri Lankesh at Bengaluru Town Hall on Sept 6th 2017

Background:

Gauri Lankesh, the editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike – a Kannada tabloid, an activist, a rational thinker, follower of Basavanna and Ambedkar ideologies and a staunch critic of state brutality, Hinduism and Hindu-fascism/Hindutva was shot dead in front of her home in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar Bengaluru on the evening of Sep 5th, 2017. Protests against her murder erupted across Karnataka and India.

“In Karnataka today, we are living in such times that Modi Bhakts and the Hindutva brigade welcome the killings (Dr. M. M. Kalburgi) and celebrate the deaths (Dr. U. R. Ananthamurthy) of those who oppose their ideology, their political party and their supreme leader, Narendra Modi…They are keen to somehow shut me up too”

— Gauri Lankesh, NewsLaundry, Nov 30th 2016

Ammar Mansoor: It is a very sad day for Indian democracy. And we are living in a very tough time where the fascist forces are not just online but they have started their attacks, not just verbal attacks in online sphere but all this kind of physical assault on the offline sphere. I think this protest will be incomplete if we do not raise, if we do not vow to fight or take forward all those cause for which Gauri Lankesh had fought for. Gauri Lankesh was very critical of Narendra Modi government, she was very critical of RSS. So I just have this slogan to make – Down Down Narendra Modi, Down Down RSS!

(slogans)
Down with Fascism Down with
Down with Down with

Dalit Camera: Several hundreds of people turned up at Bengaluru Town Hall, on the morning of Sept 6th 2017, to protest against her killing, and also to pay their final respects to her. Some came as friends, some as comrades, but several as just fellow citizens with a desire to continue her struggle – “the struggle of Basavanna and Dr.Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society.”

AIDSO member: We condemn this gruesome murder of Gauri Lankesh madam. From the last three years we are observing all throughout India, anybody who questions the government, anybody who is against the ideology of those in power are being targeted and are being murdered. And history has shown us that you can kill an individual, you can not kill an idea. Ideas are bulletproof.

Vasu (Karnataka Janashakthi) : Today, all across India, all across Karnataka, numerous protests condemning the murder of Gauri Lankesh are being held. We have gathered here today to send a clear message to those in power that like they failed to silence the voices of conscience of the country after the murder of M M Kalburgi, now, after the murder of Gauri Lankesh this voice will only grow 100% stronger.

(Slogans)
Then Kalburgi, Today Gauri, Tomorrow who?
Tomorrow who? Tomorrow who?

Baraguru Ramachandrappa: We are in the times where our voices are killed. We are in the times where our tongues are cut. And we are in times when the cutting of our tongues is not enough and they reach for our necks. We are living in the times when choking us is not enough and they shoot at our chest. People with the sole intentions to accuse and attack those who speak their mind by contriving, misinterpreting the meaningful words have been on the increase in this state, more so in the past three four years. It is as the result of this that we have seen murder of Pansare in Maharashtra, murder of M. M. Kalburgi and now murder of Gauri Lankesh. None of us gathered here thinks that the murder of Gauri Lankesh is just killing of an individual. If anyone is thinking that by killing Gauri Lankesh they will kill the pro-people, pro-justice, pro-equality consciousness of Karnataka, then it is for us to show that Karnataka has the power to prove them wrong.

(Slogans)
A fearless dissenter
A fearless dissenter
A fellow comrade
A fellow comrade

A fearless dissenter
A fearless dissenter
A fellow comrade
A fellow comrade

Your daughter they killed
Your daughter they killed
Your daughter they killed
Your daughter they killed

The cowards killed her
The cowards killed her
The enemies killed her
The enemies killed her

The cowards killed her
The cowards killed her

The cowards who shot bullets to her chest
we condemn you, we condemn you
we condemn you, we condemn you

K.Neela: Two years ago we had asked you, what had we asked? That day Dabholkar was murdered, Pansare was murdered, they murdered M. M. Kalburgi, why did they do it? Your police department itself has said that the murders were not personally motivated but were driven by the differences in political ideologies. This is what your police department has said.

If Baba Saheb Ambedkar had not given us the constitution these manuwaadis would have crushed us under their feet. They would have stamped us under their feet. Salaam Babasaheb Ambedkar! Salaam! All through your life you struggled to give us a life of dignity. But today the ones with 56 inches of chest are trying to destroy my constitution.

Where is your empathy? Where is your compassion? If the murders have been done for the political ideologies then what ideologies they held? M. M. Kalburgi after years of research kept a truth in front of the world. What was that truth? Lingayats are not Hindus. Lingayat is a philosophy that is born in resistance to the brahminism. It is the ideology of the sharanas. It is the ideology of Basavanna. The one who revealed the truth of that ideology, you shot a bullet to his head? When we demanded that those who shot the bullets to his head be caught and brought to justice, where are you brother Siddharammanna? Where are you? How are we to trust you to give us justice? If Baba Saheb Ambedkar had not given us the constitution these manuwaadis would have crushed us under their feet. They would have stamped us under their feet. Salaam Babasaheb Ambedkar! Salaam! All through your life you struggled to give us a life of dignity. But today the ones with 56 inches of chest are trying to destroy my constitution, O! Comrades. They are trying to destroy my constitution, they are trying to destroy my rich culture of vachanas. They are trying to kill Gauri Lankesh akka, the one with a huge heart. Siddhanna, we told you the other day, not in fear that you are a Chief Minister, not because you are an administrator, but as a brother, we said anna catch the ones who have killed Kalburgi. If then itself you had caught them then Gauriakka would have been here today with us. Gauri travelled all throughout the state to mobilise for the shanthishaba. Anna, you come; Akka, you come. Come, come together, let us be united, let us become one – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians, Dalits, women, the oppressed, all of us are working people, we are the Sharana-kayaka people – the ones who believe that “Work is worship”, to get us all united, Gauri akka was striving for.

The last thing I want to say, comrades, is that this is the land of sharanas, this is my Karnataka, in this Karnataka the murders of Gauri Lankesh, M.M. Kalburgi and Liganna Satyampete are demonic assassination. These demonic assassinations we will have to take them as challenge. Let us work to ignite peace, let us work tirelessly towards this. Let us come together, let us stand united, let us nurture camaraderie in us. I can not talk much, by killing Gauri Lankesh you are sending only her body to the grave, but her ideas are in each one of us, she lives on in our hearts. Like how Bhagat Singh by proclaiming Inquilab Zindabad gave rise to millions of Bhagat Singhs, similarly millions of  Gauris have been born today, millions of M.M. Kalburgis are born. Let us march forward comrades, and friends who are bystanders, touch your heart and join hands with this tradition of critical rational thinking. Condemn the murder of Gauriakka and join the culture of resistance – by saying I will end my talk.

Four demands were placed in front of the government

  1. Demand that the court should be assisted by the SIT investigation starting immediately
  2. The murder should be considered as a terrorist act and appropriate action should be taken accordingly.
  3. It is evident that serial murders of the intellectuals fighting to upholding the constitutional rights are being planned by organised groups all across the country. Taking into this into consideration, we demand a Parliamentary Joint Committee to be appointment to look into this and recommend possible amendments to laws.
  4. Demand to appoint an investigation team to keep an eye the activities of the Right wing fascist organisations.

Neela: Ours is a culture of community and compassion, and you want to shoot a bullet and kill it? In our chest how many bullets you will pierce? Shoot your bullets, we also are Gauri Lankesh, we also are MM Kalburgi, we also are Pansare, we also are Dabholkar.

(Slogans)
Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe
Amar Rahe Amar Rahe
Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe
Amar Rahe Amar Rahe
Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe
Amar Rahe Amar Rahe

You may kill an individual
Not the ideas!
Not possible! Not possible!!

You may kill an individual
Not the ideas!
Not possible! Not possible!!

Interviewees: Ammar Mansoor, Students Islamic Organization (SIO), Student, AIDSO students Organization

Speakers: Vasu, Karnataka Janashakthi, Baraguru Ramachandrappa, Kannada writer, filmmaker, K.Neela, Janavaadi Mahila Sanghatane

Video: Karthik Ranganathan, Transcription: Archana Bidargaddi