Supporters of slain journalist Gauri Lankesh celebrated her 56th birth anniversary on Monday as 'Gauri Day' in Bengaluru. The event, which was organised by the Gauri Lankesh Foundation, was attended by actor Prakash Raj, and activists Kanhiaya Kumar, Shehla Rashid, Umar Khalid and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, reported Outlook.
Lankesh, known for her Left-leaning outlook and forthright views against Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at her residence on 5 September 2017. Her death led to a nation-wide outrage against rising intolerance and attempts to muzzle dissent, with criticism targeted at the BJP-led central government and Right-wing groups.
The event began at 2 pm in Bengaluru's town hall with songs commemorating Lankesh's life, while a oath to protect the Indian Constitution was also administered, Deccan Herald reported.
The report added that two books, Nanu Gauri, a collection of her poems, and Gauri Hoo, a collection of essays authored by Lankesh or about her, were also released at the event.
Speaking at the event, Raj, who has been in the news for criticising the Narendra Modi government over several issues, recalled his association with Lankesh and remarked that her death created more voices to fight the forces that killed her.
He also went on to talk about the death of Hyderabad University student leader Rohith Vemula and the Dalit protests in Gujarat.
"Vemula's death created Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid. The death of Dalits created a Jignesh Mevani. When Gauri is silenced, I and many like me are created. When it is a normal death, we can pay tribute, but when it is a death like Gauri's, it has created voices to fight against forces that killed her," News Minute quoted Raj as saying.
Bangalore Mirror reported that Kanhaiya Kumar, the former JNU president, criticised the prime minister for prioritising religion over development. On the other hand, Mevani said that he will ensure that Dalits in Karnataka do not vote for "communal forces" like the BJP.
However, the report also highlighted the rift between Lankesh's over the celebrating the occasion as 'Gauri Day'. Her brother Indrajit did not attend the event and claimed that the it was being sponsored by the Congress government in Karnataka, while sister Kavita refuted this claim.
Meanwhile, Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar also took to Twitter to remember their meeting with the slain journalist-activist.
आज गौरी अक्का का जन्मदिन है। अम्मा, तुम्हारी यादें और तुम्हारी ममता हमेशा हमारे साथ है, पर काश तुम भी साथ होती। लेखनी की स्वतंत्रता और लोकतंत्र को ज़िंदा रखने के संघर्षों में तुम्हारे विचार और तुम्हारी सीख हमेशा साथ रहेगी। #GauriDay pic.twitter.com/3a56UsnkqZ
— Kanhaiya Kumar (@kanhaiyajnusu) January 29, 2018
Let's not forget how Gauri was killed, but let us also continue remember how Gauri lived. We will keep Gauri alive by carrying forward her fight for democracy, secularism and justice. Happy Birthday, Gauri Lankesh! #GauriDay pic.twitter.com/phil2RoWrC — Umar Khalid (@UmarKhalidJNU) January 29, 2018
At the sidelines of the event, Rashid also took a photograph with Raj.
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) January 29, 2018
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jan 30, 2018 11:14 AM