With the murders of Gauri Lankesh and M.M. Kalburgi, many people feel that there is an oppressive climate in Karnataka that is stifling of freedom of expression.
THIS SEPTEMBER 5 MARKED A YEAR SINCE the assassination of the journalist Gauri Lankesh. As the Bengaluru-based Special Investigation Team (SIT) gets ready to file its charge sheet against the accused, media reports make it clear that the suspects owe allegiance to a radical Hindu doctrine that advocates the killing of ideological opponents. Gauri Lankesh’s murder was preceded by those of Narendra Dabholkar (August 20, 2013, in Pune, Maharashtra), Govind Pansare (shot on February 16, 2015, in Kohlapur, Maharashtra, and died on February 20 in Mumbai) and M.M. Kalburgi (August 30, 2015, in Dharwad, Karnataka). The four victims had different vocations and significantly differed in their world views, but what was common to all of them was their consistent questioning of Hindu religious dogma. The murders of Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh were celebrated by right-wing trolls on social media in Karnataka.
For social activists, writers and intellectuals in Karnataka, the dates August 30 and September 5 have come to signify a major change in the climate of freedom
AT THE INAUGURATION of the Literary Meet for Tolerance, which had religious tolerance and gram swaraj as its two central themes, in the Senate Hall of Central College in Bengaluru on September 2. Girish Karnad, Ramachandra Guha, M.S. Sathyu, Geeta Hariharan and Ganesh N. Devy were among the writers, film-makers and artists present.