Freedom of expression in a democratic set up must not be curtailed by any means, least through silencing by death as the same is a brazen act of cowardice, proving that the opinion controversial could not be countered by a counter opinion, a stronger one and on cogent grounds. Expressing one’s views must be one’s own, based on proper analysis with constructive alternatives suggested, country’s interests paramount and the same kept in mind while writing, speaking or practicing and not as a result of being pawned and looking to be one, with elements or masters in disguise or incognito. Any expression through any mode known, must sail through anger of those against whom the writer opines and here a quote is worth reading, “Freedom of expression is tested during times of anger and conflict and enables all opinions and outraged expressions of dissent that we may not want to hear, but even for this, there have to be limits.” The premise is that for everything, there must be limits and limits must be self imposed rather than otherwise. Left leaning journalist activist Gauri Lankesh was killed in cold blood for reasons best known to her killers but we, totally opposing and severely condemning this act , must rue for having lost a holder of pen which of course is mightier than the sword , must never draw conclusions about “how’, “why”, “by whom” etc and try to bake political loaves over a detestable criminal act and pronounce judgments within minutes of the murder without any investigations , inquiries by professionals in our Police and other law enforcing and detective agencies and un necessarily create new problems and frictions in the society which otherwise would exclusively be extraneous to the issue.
We, whether as journalists, political analysis, social activists and the like , while strongly condemning such killings in this country of non -violence as a cardinal way of our ancient civilization and belief, must know at the earliest, the motive and the purpose of the killing through the police, judiciary etc; and see the culprits exposed and punished. We must abhor the “verdict” of Rahul Ji, Vice President of Congress who within minutes of the killing said, “Those who are opposing the RSS and the BJP are killed.”Also we decry Communist Yechury’s immediate reaction, “Who was threatened by Gauri’s views, you must know, there is climate of bigotry, hate, intolerance and violence in India that took her life….” It is quite unfortunate to have all such unpleasant and uncalled for remarks and pre- conceived hateful notions aiming against one direction only which is reprehensible. Now, it has become more or less a fashion, a political opportunism to do stale politics and of low stature, over selective killings, in which state, ruled by which party, railway accidents, negligence in hospitals, or any crime, terror attacks in which state and ruled by which party, doing comparative analysis and analytical work of how many attacks took place in whose “Raj” and why more in whose “rule” and the like. It all looks bizarre and cheap.
Since Gauri was a journalist and it is a natural corollary that the journalistic fraternity must get disturbed more than anyone and pay tributes to the departed soul. They did it, the Press Club of India organized a condolence cum tributes paying meeting in Delhi but it is a matter of utter astonishment that the JNU Aazadi “activist” Kanahya , on bail, was seen addressing the media and the media persons were hearing him in rapt attention. What business had this “comrade” got to do in the Press Club , an exclusive privilege of the pressmen only. Since Gauri Lankesh was treating the comrade as her “son” as claimed by the “comrade”, he should have been there in Karnatka at least at the time of her burial. A son is supposed to do that but he preferred to come in the lime light to try his political fortunes via extreme left communist ideology. Not only he, Shehla Rashid, ex student leader of JNU was addressing the Pressmen and speaking her usual rhetoric of hate against the so called “Right” wing forces. She was so much emboldened by the claps and the response from the club participants that she ordered a “shut up “and “get out” to a news person whom she told not to get the mike close to her for her “valuable” comments. No pressperson present there objected to her insulting one of their colleagues. But why, in the meeting organized by the pressmen, a non pressperson is pushing away a pressperson. Looking strange? May we ask as to what business had politicians especially like D. Raja similarly got to do there in the meet of the Press Club of India as he too was addressing the press persons?
The brother of the slain journalist told media persons that the killing of her sister was the handiwork of some Naxalite activists who were against her. He repeatedly told this and with some conviction he carried. It is shocking that some politician disliked his statement calling him a “useless relative.” So a useful relative is one who toes to the line of blaming the RSS , the BJP , the Hindutva forces and the like and keep on repeating manufactured terms like “intolerance”, “hate”, “bigotry” , “violence” etc and in the process defame India internationally as also create dissentions in the society.
It is surprising that none of the “progressive”, Left leaning, secular Congress and likeminded political leaders blamed CM Siddaramaiah for not improving his law and order machinery in the state as the criminals appeared to have no fear of the law. Siddaramaiah , however, announced an SIT headed by the IG and instructed the Police to “give protection to free thinkers and those involved in the Left movement”. Why the instructions are only for “Left movement” and not for the “Right movement”? How can movements be classified so as to decide eligibility of police protection? If the “Left” is there to be encouraged and supported, why not the “Right”? May it be said that after August 15, 1947 there is no need for any “movement” in India excepting the development movement aiming at making the country economically and militarily very strong. And what does the CM mean “Free thinkers”? Are there people in the country with “enslaved” or “barred” thinking? What sort of discourse is there around especially when gruesome incidents like the one under reference are concerned?
Killings are unfortunate but doing politics over them also is equally unfortunate and reprehensible. After 1992 till date, 67 journalists were killed. In Assam alone, 32 writers were killed but there was no protest or no “intolerance “spoken over them. 2012 to 2017 saw as many as 17 non English writing journalists killed but no protest, no Left, no Right like things were discussed. Gauri was given gun salute and state managed burial quite against the protocol. Why selective political “honours” as if employing selective “secularism” was not sufficient?