Kavitha Lankesh, the younger sister of slain activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh, still remembers the night she was killed in vivid detail.
“I got a call from my mother saying Gauri has fallen down, go see what’s happened. I reversed the car, there was a kind of fear, about her health, if she had low blood pressure or if it was a heart attack. Or maybe something minor, like she’s stumbled and fallen and got hurt, lot of speculations were running through my mind. But when I was near her house, a TV news anchor called me and said, “Madam there's been a shooting, I believe".
Kavitha wanted to believe it was an attempt to scare Gauri or she only got shot on her leg. But when she reached Gauri’s house, she was told it was all over. “By the time I reached, the police were already there. They told me she was gone. I really collapsed, I couldn’t believe it could come to this,” she said.
A year later, the police have arrested the man who shot her sister in cold blood. But there is no anger or rage, Kavitha says. According to her, Parashuram Waghmore was a misguided youth and those who instigated him are the real threat.
“When we learnt about the killer, my daughter asked if we can kill him. I said no. What is the difference between you and him then? Actually, I am sick, I am sick of their ideology,” she said.
Over the last year, Kavitha has been attending several programmes held in memory of her sister. For her, the people she meets at these events are her inspiration to keep going forward.
“In the book that Chandan Gowda wrote, there is one lady, who walked about 30km to a lonely bus stop in a small town and she stood with a placard saying, "I am Gauri" for half a day.”
That woman sums up with legacy of Gauri, says Kavitha.
“What was that lady’s connection with Gauri? To come from some far off, remote place in Karnataka and stand in some small corner. But she spent the whole day with Gauri’s name. We have heard many stories. A lot of people have awakened and stood with her and with us. I think that gives us the support to go on,” she concluded.