Thousands of demonstrators staged a massive demonstration on Tuesday to protest the killing of senior scribe and dissenter Gauri Lankesh, who was killed by yet to be identified gunmen at her residence in Bengaluru on September 5.
Themed “We are Gauri,” the rally saw participation from social activists, journalists, several political and student outfits. A progressive forum Gauri Lankesh Hatya Virodhi Vedike’ organised the rally, which was attended by anywhere between 15,000-50,000 protestors, as per varying estimates.
According to the BBC, nearly 15,000 people took part in the protest which also saw participation from the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Karnataka Janashakthi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) among others.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury was quoted as explaining to the British broadcaster, “When I say ‘I am Gauri’, it means that we will not allow us to be silenced.”
“The idea of a socialist and secular India is still alive,” the politico added.
The rally began at Bengaluru railway station and ended at the Central College grounds. Protestors were seen singing protest songs, raising slogans like “Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe” (Long live Gauri Lankesh) amid passionate calls for justice.
Veteran freedom fighter HS Doreswamy reportedly stated that a “new era” should be created, starting now. “If I can fight for change at 99, why can't you fight?”
Other people present at the protest included acclaimed journalist P Sainath, politician Rajeev Gowda, social activist Medha Patkar and women's rights campaigner Kavita Krishnan.
The protest further attracted a good deal of support on social media, with people posting expressions of support in what’s viewed as worsening “culture of intolerance” under the present government’s Hindutva tilt.