Citizens Voice Fear, Demand Justice for Gauri Lankesh at March
The march was attended by hundreds, from student activists to politicians, trade unionists & citizens.
A march on Thursday demanding justice for Gauri Lankesh, the editor of a Kannada weekly who was gunned down a month ago, turned into a platform for citizens and activists to voice their fears, anguish and call for a resolve to "unite".
The march from Delhi’s Mandi House area to Jantar Mantar was attended by hundreds, from student activists to politicians and trade unionists to general citizens.
The umbrella banner, 'March for Justice', had a wide array of political parties under it including the CPI, CPI(M), Aam Aadmi Party, Swaraj India, representatives of which called for larger unity to take on the BJP and the right wing forces, and around 100 activists from the Karnataka-based 'Janshakti Manch'.
The protesters quoted Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s peerless “Bol ke lab azad hai tere bol, ke ab nahi toh kab bolenge? (Speak up for your words are free, if not now then when?)” as they marched down central Delhi, bringing the afternoon traffic to a standstill.
Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan also spoke at the Delhi march:
We may not know who killed her, but we know who all are celebrating her death. With reports of an economic slump, the attempts to divert attention from these issues by inciting communal sentiments have only sharpened.
Satish Chand Sharma, a retiree who was an active participant of progressive writers' forums in his youth, said he makes it a point to attend these protests to shatter the silence over the "imposition of choices which has triggered a sense of fear".
Roopadarshi, the daughter of MM Kalburgi who was shot dead in 2015 in Karnataka's Dharward, said vigils like this may help create awareness and get justice.
Others who were present in the march included CPI leader Annie Raja, AAP's Richa Pandey Mishra, activist Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander and veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar.
Malliga of the Karnataka Janhit Manch said Lankesh’s murder was part of a larger pattern of silencing voices of resistance. "From Gandhi to Gauri, we can see a pattern. The state nurtures such elements."
AAP's Richa Pandey Mishra said, "There are a few who are scared of voices of women, students and the youth. We stand together as one. We won't let them snatch our freedom away."
Tamil Nadu farmer V Rajendran, who is part of a group of bare-bodied protesters with skulls and bones camping at Jantar Mantar for nearly three months now, said they condemn the killings of journalists as they are the one who take the voices of the oppressed to the masses and the establishment.
(With inputs from PTI)
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