Describing the outrage around the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh as full of “prejudices” and “targeted”, spokesperson of Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha, Chetan Rajhans, on Thursday accused Lankesh of being an “extortionist” who had “links with Naxals”.
The Hindu outfit's spokesperson also said that he had never heard of Lankesh's name until the news of her murder broke out.
In an interview with News18.com, Rajhans condemned the killing of the veteran journalist but said that since she belonged to Left ideology, people are jumping the gun by accusing Hindu outfits of having committed the murder, and in doing so, people are overlooking the facts that Lankesh had disputes with her brother and was involved in extortions.
"Basically, we condemn the killing of Lankesh. These sort of killings are wrong, from the point of view of our legal system and our democratic setup," Rajhans told News18.
Rajhans said that the allegations are prejudiced and gave five reasons that the investigators should rather look into.
“First, that (BJP) MP Prahlad Joshi had filed a defamation case against Lankesh, in which she was convicted and sentenced to jail for six months. There should be some discussion on this," Rajhans said.
"Second, people should talk about her extortions also. Extortionist thi woh (she was an extortionist). Why don't we talk to all those who were victims of her extortion?
"Third, she clearly had Naxalite links. Some channels have been showing this. Fourth, she commented against the Lingayat community. And fifth, there was some property dispute between her brother and her. It should be found out whether she was killed in a property dispute or not,” he added.
Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy had drawn parallels between the deaths of Lankesh and rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, and MM Kalburgi allegedly killed by fringe Hindu groups. Historian Ramachandra Guha too felt that Lankesh’s murder was “part of a pattern that links the deaths of Dabholkar, Kalburgi, and Pansare”.
This link was further bolstered by a senior police official who said that the modus operandi in Lankesh's murder seems very close to what had been witnessed earlier. "Bullets were fired on the chest and the head, and the three assailants came on a bike. It's very similar to what was witnessed in the murder of Pansare, Dabholkar, and Kalburgi," the police officer had said.
Besides that, what is also making people draw a parallel in the killings is also the fact that all the deceased were critics of Right-wing forces in the country.
Sanatan Sanstha was mentioned in Dabholkar murder charge sheet
In September last year, CBI had filed a charge sheet against Sanatan Sanstha activist Virendra Tawde in connection with the murder of Dabholkar, reported Hindustan Times.
A year ago in 16 September 2015, a “full-time member” of Sanatan Sanstha, Sameer Vishnu Gaikwad, was arrested in connection with the murder of veteran CPI leader Govind Pansare, reported The Indian Express.
Rajhans however asserted that despite being searched by the central and state investigating agencies for several years no evidence has been found till date which could link the organisation to these murders.
“Our premises have been raided twice. Were we found to be guilty, wouldn't have action been taken against us? Wouldn't have we been banned? We were targeted for eight years but did they find anything against us? These investigating agencies also found that a small outfit like us cannot do anything illegal,” Rajhans told News18.com.
Comparing people's reactions following the murders of individuals who believe in “Communist-ideology” and pro-Hindutva believers, Rajhans said, “When some people with Communist ideology are killed, and I'm talking about Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi, and now Gauri Lankesh here, the chief minister of Tripura and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury issue statements.
"But in the years gone by, four people who espoused pro-Hindutva ideology were killed in Karnataka and nobody's talking about them. They were also killed for their political ideology,” he added.
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Updated Date: Sep 08, 2017 00:49:00 IST