Speaking at the Parivartan Rally in Bengaluru, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh targeted the Karnataka government over the alleged murders of Paresh Mehta and Gauri Lankesh.He said: “Paresh Mesta was recently killed. What this govt is doing in these murder cases’ Gauri Lankesh was killed. I want to assure Karnataka public that when our govt is formed, we will probe her death from all angles, culprits will be punished. We won’t save anyone.”With the assembly elections in Karnataka on the agenda for 2018, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday appealed to the natives to support the formation of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under the leadership of B.S. Yeddyurappa.Also readWhen Rajnath Singh met the Maulvi saab who caned him as a kid and got emotionalRajnath while praising the former chief minister said, ‘We want to empower Karnataka, and this will be possible when, in two to three months, a BJP government will be formed here. The BJP will contest in the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka under B. S. Yeddyurappa Ji’s leadership.’ Also readRSS pays tribute to slain journalist Gauri LankeshAccusing the Congress Party and its leadership in the state of indulging in corruption, Rajnath alleged that the grand old party is indulging in ‘divide and rule’ in the state and causing communal disharmony by involving caste and other related factors. He further claimed that scams such as that related to the construction of a steel flyover are being ignited by the Congress. ‘Congress government here wants to divide Karnataka community to rule. I received information that even though there is no regulation in the constitution, Muslim community here was befooled with reservation which was later out ruled by the Court,’ he said. Also readParesh Mesta death: BJP urges Karnataka Guv to intervene, Siddaramaiah says ‘unfortunate’ incident being politicisedRajnath added, ‘The government here created such an issue over Tipu Sultan. I do not want to dive deep into history, but I have to ask: Why is there no celebration for Kempegowda, Kittur Rani Chennamma or Sir M. Visvesvaraya’ Why only Tipu Sultan?” Congratulating the newly-elected president of the party, Rahul Gandhi, Rajnath further accused the Congress of igniting disorder and turmoil in several states, including Kashmir. ‘I want to congratulate him (Rahul Gandhi) but also ask- did the fire of communalism, terrorism and axalism in India erupt due to BJP’s policies’ Did fire erupt in Kashmir due to BJP’s policies? If someone formed governments by setting fire, it is Congress. BJP is trying to douse the flame,’ claimed Rajnath.Lauding the initiatives across various fronts taken under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajnath claimed that India is no longer considered weak, and is now a superpower that nobody can questions. ‘If not for the BJP and Prime Minister Modi, the Doklam issue would not have been resolved. China too has understood that diplomatic ties have to be maintained. On the Indo-Pakistan border, our forces are strongly retaliating against attacks, as was seen during the surgical strike last year. We will not fire first, but if someone fires at us, we will not sit back,’ claimed Rajnath. Highlighting the economic reforms undertaken in the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, Rajnath opined that steps such as demonetisation have led to an intense crackdown on benami properties, shell companies and black money. Further, steps like financial inclusion and strengthening of agriculture have been praised by international agencies such as Moody and others too, he said. At the rally, Rajnath was accompanied by Yeddyurappa and other party leaders. On a related note, Karnataka will go to polls in April next year. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Tuesday took out a ‘Raj Bhavan Chalo’ march from Gandhi Statue to submit a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking direction to the Karnataka Government for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe in youth activist Paresh Mesta death case. The march was led by MP Shobha Karandlaje. They later reached the Governor’s house and urged him to intervene in this incident. The body of the missing activist Paresh Mesta, a resident of Thulisinagar in Honnovar was found in a lake behind Shani temple on Friday. He was missing from last Wednesday. There has been significant tension in parts of Uttar Kannada post his death. Mesta’s family has alleged that there was foul play and it’s unlikely that he drowned in the lake. However police have ruled out any foul play, according to reports. Doctors who have performed autopsy on the body say they didn’t find any evidence of assault or mutilation, according to multiple reports. BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has alleged that it’s a ‘brutal murder’ and the state government is trying to cover it up. Several top leaders including Union Minister Ananth Kumar was part of Mesta’s funeral procession, the report says. According to BJP MP Karandlaje, police were mute spectators when a hostile mob attacked Mesta near a temple on Wednesday. The trigger was a street fight between an autorickshaw driver and motorbike rider, which soon took a communal colour. There was stone pelting too and shops were attacked. Reports suggest that Mesta was missing after trying to evade stone pelting. His body was found from Shettikere Lake a couple of days later. Gauri Lankesh edited the anti-establishment Gauri Lankesh Patrike. Her killing was very similar to the earlier killings of the rationalists and activists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, and MM Kalburgi who were equally critical of the right wing.The journalist’s family has made a plea not to give a political colour to her killing. They had said the investigators should look into all possible aspects of the case, as reports had emerged about a possible Naxal hand in the crime, besides the suspected involvement of right-wing extremists.With inputs from ANI
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<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prakash Raj, National Award winning actor, on Thursday said he has sent a legal notice to BJP MP Pratap Simha seeking an apology for “trolling” him in the social media.The talented, multi-lingual actor said he would sue Simha if he did not apologise within ten days.”People who are open to power are shamelessly trolling.I have sent him (Simha) a notice that he has to reply to my queries. I have questioned his act of trolling. I have asked him to answer legally, if he doesn’t I will be taking criminal action against him,” Raj told reporters in Bengaluru.Simha on October 2 tweeted flaying the actor for questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over those “celebrating” the killing of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh.Alleging that the comments against him had been made with a malafide intent to affect his reputation, family ties and personal life, the actor urged Simha to delete the Facebook posts and tweets about him.Raj said he was thinking of claiming monetary damages too for “soiling” his reputation and “hurting” his sentiments.He said there was nothing personal or political about it and expressed hope BJP would restrain Simha from posting such comments.When asked about his “double standards” in not questioning Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah when RSS and BJP members were killed, Raj said, “Many people were saying this to me that I should have started (questioning) before. Yes, I was late in starting, but better late than never.”He said it did not show which political ideology he supported. “…but I am very very clear which political ideology I am against …I am not saffron,” Raj added.
Journalist Sudip Dutta Bhaumik was shot dead, allegedly on the orders of a senior army official.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The killers of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead in an audacious attack here over two months ago, would “100 per cent” be nabbed in a few weeks, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said on Saturday.He said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the killing had clues about the assailants, but those could not be disclosed at the moment.”Who has done it…I am aware of it thanks to an update provided by the SIT. But I cannot disclose it now,” Reddy said at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Press Club of Bangalore and the Bangalore Reporters’ Guild here.”Gauri’s killers will 100 per cent be caught. This will happen in a few weeks,” he added.The minister, however, clarified, “Weeks do not mean one or two weeks. It (the arrest of the killers) will happen in a matter of a few weeks. This will happen 100 per cent.”Reddy said whether Lankesh was killed by left-wing or right-wing extremists or was it due to “some other thinking” was “one issue”.Lankesh, known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unidentified assailants outside her residence here on the night of September 5.The killing had led to a national outrage and protests by several groups over “rising intolerance” in the country and attempts to muzzle dissent, with the criticism targeted at the BJP-led central government and right-wing groups.Reddy had made similar claims about the SIT having gathered “some clues” in connection with the case earlier too.The Congress government in Karnataka, which constituted the SIT headed by Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) B K Singh, has also announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for anyone providing clues about the perpetrators of the crime.As the killing gave way to a political slugfest, Lankesh’s family had made a plea not to give a political colour to it.They had said the investigators should look into all possible aspects of the case, as reports had emerged about a possible Naxal hand in the crime, besides the suspected involvement of right-wing extremists.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The family of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was gunned down outside her house here last month, on Thursday said they were waiting for the culprits to be caught as soon as possible. At a press meet here, Lankesh’s family remained guarded in their response to questions about the progress of investigation.”We are waiting and watching…and as you know the investigations are going on, I do not want to comment on the investigation like how it is going, which way it is going. We are waiting for the killers to be caught as soon as possible,” her brother Indrajit said.State Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy today said there was progress in the probe but details could not be shared now.”I have repeatedly said that there is progress. I cannot share details with public or press at this juncture. Shortly, the case will be solved,” Reddy told PTI.The Karnataka government had, on September 6, announced a 21-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by IGP (Intelligence) B K Singh, to probe Lankesh’s killing.Known for her Left leanings, Lankesh was shot dead outside her Rajarajeshwarinagar residence here by unidentified assailants on September 5. Her sister, Kavitha, expressed unhappiness over the speculative stories appearing in the media.”There is much speculation in the press which police don’t know…we don’t know. They keep speculating, including targeting my brother many times, which is horrible at such a time when we are united,” she said. “…We can’t say we are happy with the investigation till the killers are found but we are satisfied with the work they are doing. They are doing extensive research. They have put 150 people in the team and the footwork is a lot,” she added. The family also announced that Lankesh will be posthumously given the Anna Politkovskaya Award this year, making her the first Indian to receive the honour.Lankesh will share the annual award, instituted in memory of a Russian investigative reporter who was assassinated last year in Moscow, with Pakistani activist Gulalai Ismail, they said. The award is conferred by London-based organisation RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in War). The family said they have received a mail about the award.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP’s Karnataka unit today hit out at actor Prakash Raj for criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on those “celebrating” the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, saying he has shown “political immaturity.”Raj had described as “chilling” the silence of Modi on those “celebrating” the killing of Lankesh, including the ones followed by him on Twitter.State senior BJP leader and spokesman S Suresh Kumar said, “The actor has shown his political immaturity by making a statement that suits his political ideology. Such allegations were made to win accolades.”While questioning Modi’s silence, Raj appeared to suggest on Sunday that he felt like “returning” his awards to “such actors who are acting as though nothing has happened”, but later insisted that he was “not such a fool to give back the national awards.”Raj, who has acted in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil movies, had been a family friend of Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead by unidentified assailants here on September 5.The BJP spokesman also sought to know why the actor preferred to remain silent during the Cauvery agitation by saying that he is only an actor.”If Raj wants to be active in politics, let him start his own political party. We do not want him to issue any certificate to Modi,” said Kumar
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly a month after Journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her house in Bengaluru, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy has claimed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has got clues in the case.”We have got clues, but we cannot tell things to the media for now, because we should have correct evidence for the clues we have got,” he told reporters at Chikkaballapura.”If there are no proper evidence when we file a charge sheet at the court, it won’t stand. So we are trying to collect the evidence correctly,” reported PTI quoting the minister. However, the minister had earlier too expressed hopes about nabbing the culprits soon.Gauri Lankesh, known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unknown assailants at her home here on the night of September 5. The Karnataka government, which has constituted the SIT headed by IGP (Intelligence) B K Singh, has announced a Rs 10 lakh reward to anyone who gives clues about the killing that led to outrage and protests.On Monday, about 40 people, including some authors, were detained when they raised slogans seeking justice for slain journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh at the Gandhi Statue near the Marina Beach in Chennai. National award winning actor Prakash Raj has also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his silence on those who were “celebrating” the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh and said he feels like returning his awards.Lankesh (55), known for her anti-establishment voice with acrid anti-right wing views, was shot dead from a close range by unknown assailants at her residence. A writer, publisher and an editor, had returned home in her car. As she was opening the gate of the vehicle, the motorcycle-borne assailants sprayed bullets on her with two hitting her in the chest and one on the forehead.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Karnataka BJP today said if Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is holding the RSS and right-wing ideology responsible for the killing of journalist -activist Gauri Lankesh, he should furnish evidence to back his allegations.A day after the Left-leaning journalist was killed, Rahul Gandhi had said that anybody who speaks against the ideology of BJP and RSS, is pressured, beaten up, attacked and even killed.State BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa today said, “If Rahul Gandhi has any proof to prove his allegations, he should furnish it.”BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also attacked Gandhi on September 8 for holding the right wing and RSS ideology responsible for the killing of the 55-year- old journalist.”The BJP would like to ask the Chief Minister of Karnataka that in the light of the unilateral malafide comment of Rahul Gandhi, should we expect a fair investigation by the SIT,” he had asked.The state government has formed an SIT to probe the killing.Replying to a query, Yeddyurappa told reporters here today, “Let all inquirers get over and whoever are the culprits, they must be hanged. For that, we (the BJP) has no objection.”Asked if the BJP was satisfied with inquiry by the SIT or would demand a CBI probe, the former chief minister said it was left for the government to decide.Yeddyurappa alleged the government has “failed” in maintaining law and order, which is reflected in the murders of RSS and BJP activists, Left-leaning intellectuals, and a journalist.”At least, in Gauri Lankesh’s case, let the government take proper action and culprits should be brought to book and punished,” he told reporters here.Lankesh, known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unknown assailants at her home here on the night of September 5.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP has issued a legal notice to historian Ramchandra Guha for linking Gauri Lankesh’s murder to BJP and RSS. According to ANI, the Karnataka BJP Yuva Morcha’s secretary has issued a legal notice to the historian over his statement in an interview. Guha had said about Gauri’s murder that the ‘climate of hate and intolerance promoted by the current (BJP) government’ was complicit in the murder. He had said that India was becoming a mirror image of Bangladesh and Pakistan, ‘where writers were killed for what they said’. Guha had added that there was an attempt to silence all of those who believed in democracy.He was quoted saying by The Indian Express: “The climate of hate and intolerance that has been promoted by this current (BJP) government, aided by television channels and freelance goondas, is complicit in this murder. It is chilling. We are becoming mirror images of Bangladesh and Pakistan, where writers are killed for what they say. This is an attempt to silence all of us, all of those who believe in democracy and decency.”
ALSO READ Gauri Lankesh: Left of centre, but heart in the right placeHe had also written in a column in Hindustan Times that the murder had been ‘ghoulishly celebrated by Hindutva right-wingers’.
ALSO READ A R Rahman condemns Gauri Lankesh’s murder, says ‘This is not my India’He had written in his column: “Gauri Lankesh’s death has been widely mourned by ordinary, decent, Indians. On the other hand, it has been ghoulishly celebrated by Hindutva right-wingers. The senior Cabinet Minister, Nitin Gadkari, has denied that the BJP or its affiliates had anything to do with Gauri Lankesh’s murder. How, so soon after the event, can he be so sure? Even if the BJP or the RSS is not directly involved in this and similar murders, there is little question that the ruling dispensation has enabled a climate of hate and suspicion that makes such targeted killings of writers and scholars possible. It may be freelancers who actually commit these acts; but they are emboldened by politicians, ideologues and television anchors who demonise all critics of the ruling regime as anti-national. The political climate is now more poisonous and rancorous than at any time since the Emergency. Rahul Gandhi must prove his claim: Karnataka BJP
ALSO READ Never said BJP-RSS behind Gauri Lankesh’s murder: Congress leader Mallikarjun KhargeThe Karnataka BJP today said if Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is holding the RSS and right-wing ideology responsible for the killing of journalist -activist Gauri Lankesh, he should furnish evidence to back his allegations.A day after the Left-leaning journalist was killed, Rahul Gandhi had said that anybody who speaks against the ideology of BJP and RSS, is pressured, beaten up, attacked and even killed.State BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa today said, “If Rahul Gandhi has any proof to prove his allegations, he should furnish it.”BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also attacked Gandhi on September 8 for holding the right wing and RSS ideology responsible for the killing of the 55-year- old journalist.”The BJP would like to ask the Chief Minister of Karnataka that in the light of the unilateral malafide comment of Rahul Gandhi, should we expect a fair investigation by the SIT,” he had asked.The state government has formed an SIT to probe the killing.Replying to a query, Yeddyurappa told reporters here today, “Let all inquirers get over and whoever are the culprits, they must be hanged. For that, we (the BJP) has no objection.”Asked if the BJP was satisfied with inquiry by the SIT or would demand a CBI probe, the former chief minister said it was left for the government to decide.Yeddyurappa alleged the government has “failed” in maintaining law and order, which is reflected in the murders of RSS and BJP activists, Left-leaning intellectuals, and a journalist.”At least, in Gauri Lankesh’s case, let the government take proper action and culprits should be brought to book and punished,” he told reporters here.Lankesh, known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unknown assailants at her home here on the night of September 5. With inputs from PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The SIT has gathered “some clues” in connection with the killing of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, state Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said.The state government, which set up a 21-member Special Investigation Team headed by IGP (Intelligence) B K Singh to probe the killing, had yesterday announced a Rs 10 lakh reward to anyone providing clues about the case that had led to nationwide protests.”Investigation is going on, they have also got clues, but I cannot reveal everything in front of media,” he told reporters here.”I had met the chief minister along with senior police officials yesterday. The CM had given instructions; I had also said what I had to. Finally very soon (we will nab the culprits),” he said.Meanwhile, Gauri’s mother Indira Lankesh today met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at his official residence and requested him to nab the culprits soon.Indira asked him to ensured that the culprits get strict punishment, CMO officials said.Siddaramaiah assured Indira that the government would investigate Gauri’s killing with honesty, they said.As a political slugfest broke out over the killing of Gauri, her family on Thursday had made a plea against giving political colour to it, even as it appeared divided on who should probe the murder.While Gauri’s brother Indrajit favoured a CBI probe, his sister Kavitha said that the SIT, which is currently investigating it, should be given time.The family had also said the investigators should look into all angles behind Gauri’s killing, whether it is right wing or Naxals, as reports have emerged about a possible Naxal hand other than the suspected involvement of right-wing extremists, the ideology Gauri opposed.Gauri Lankesh, who was known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unknown assailants at her home here on the night of September 5.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Karnataka government on Friday announced Rs 10 lakh reward to anyone who provides clues about the killing of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.The announcement was made by Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, a day after the city police asked public to share any information that they may have in connection with the case through a specific phone number and e-mail id.”Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) has given instructions to intensify the investigation and nab the culprits as soon as possible. We have given enough officials to the SIT, if they need additional officers we are ready to give,” Reddy said. Speaking to reporters after meeting Siddaramaiah, he said, “We will give Rs 10 lakh reward to anybody who gives clues about the culprits.”Siddaramaiah today held a meeting with the SIT on the investigation that is in progress in connection with the case. Reddy, along with SIT chief B K Singh, Director General of Police R K Dutta and Intelligence DG A M Prasad were present at the meeting. The state government had on Wednesday announced the formation of a 21-member SIT team headed by IGP (Intelligence) B K Singh to probe the killing that has led to a wave of country-wide protests and condemnation across the political spectrum.Gauri Lankesh, known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unknown assailants at her home here on the night of September 5. When informed about Gauri’s family expressing concern about the possibility of a delay in nabbing the culprits, citing the delay in solving rationalist M M Kalburgi murder case, Reddy said the SIT had been formed with the intention to nab the culprits at the earliest. “The government’s intention is to solve the case as quickly as possible… that’s the reason we have given so many officials to this case particularly. If more officials are required, we are ready to give,” he added.
ALSO READ Was Gauri Lankesh helping naxals surrender with state govt’s consent, asks Ravi shankar Prasad
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>7-year-old student found dead inside Ryan International School’s washroomA 7-year-old student was on Friday found dead inside the washroom of Ryan International School in Gurugram. The student, identified as Pradyuma Thakur was found dead in a pool of blood with his throat slashed. Click here to know moreSupreme Court bans protests across Tamil Nadu over NEET aspirant Anitha’s deathThe Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government against the NEET protestors saying, “appropriate action will be taken against those involved in any kind of agitation or stall normal life”. Click here to know moreGovt releases ‘No-Fly-List’; minimum two years ban for life threatening behaviourMonths after the Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad assaulted an Air India crew member, the government on Friday released ‘no-fly-list’ for unruly air passengers for a period ranging from three months to lifetime. Click here to know moreBreaking gender barriers: Indian Army to induct women in military policeThe Army has finalised a plan to induct women in the military police, a senior officer said on Friday. The plan is to induct approximately 800 women in military police with a yearly intake of 52 personnel per year. Click here to know moreWas Gauri Lankesh helping naxals surrender with state govt’s consent, asks Ravi shankar PrasadUnion Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday condemned the killing of Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh and hit-out at Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi for his statement. Click here to know more
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The city police on Thursday registered a case with regard to the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh and urged the public to share any information that they might have in connection with the incident.Noting that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been constituted under Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) B K Singh to investigate the killing, the Bengaluru police, in a statement, said a case had been registered at the Rajarajeshwari Nagar police station under section 302 of the IPC (punishment for murder) and section 25 of the Arms Act. The police also asked the public to share information regarding the case by dialling 9480800202 and or by sending e-mails to [email protected] (55), known for her anti-establishment voice with acrid anti-right wing views, was shot dead from a close range by unknown assailants at her residence here on Tuesday. Lankesh, a writer, publisher and an editor, had returned home in her car. As she was opening the gate of the vehicle, the motorcycle-borne assailants sprayed bullets on her with two hitting her in the chest and one on the forehead, the police had said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is a Facebook post by late journalist Gauri Lankesh’s ex-husband, Chidanand Rajghatta, who was married to her for five years. Lankesh was shot dead outside her home on Tuesday.I just deplaned after a 15 hour flight to see hundreds of messages of love and support for the work Gauri did and her shining ideals. She lived a beautiful life of purpose and fought the good fight. It will not be in vain. On the flight, I reflected on our growing up years and updated some of the recollections below because it is important to understand the wonderful milieu we grew up in. Thank you friends for the touching messages. Love and peace.Gauri Lankesh: Amazing Grace
ALSO READ Gauri Lankesh murder: Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare’s families say it’s a warning sign that democracy is in dangerIf Gauri Lankesh read all the tributes and accolades for her, particularly those that refer to soul and afterlife and heaven, she’d have cracked a good laugh. Maybe not a laugh, but at least a chuckle. We had decided in our teens that heaven and hell and afterlife were a lot of b.s. There was enough heaven and hell on earth, and we should just leave god alone – he has enough on his hands – instead of begging him for favors.But part of our compact was we would not be hurtful to others – including family — even if we disagreed with their beliefs and practices. We didn’t always succeed – ah, the impetuosity of youth! — but it was a good principle that served us well later. Which is how even when we divorced 27 years ago, after five years of courtship and five years of marriage, we remained great friends. Part of the compact. Don’t be hurtful. Even to each other.
ALSO READ Gauri Lankesh was an ‘extortionist’ and had ‘Naxal links’: Sanathan SansthaWe met at a school that was the birthplace of the Rationalist Movement of India – National College. Our principal, Dr H.Narasimaiah, and the Sri Lankan rationalist, Dr Abraham Kovoor, were pioneers of the movement, and right from our teens we took to the thrill of questioning and debunking a variety of godmen/godwomen, charlatans, frauds, superstitions etc.More on this another time, but I’m putting this out here early to provide some context to Gauri’s murder. Rationalists and agnostics are in the cross hairs of uber-religious bigots.
ALSO READ Strongly condemn those expressing happiness at Gauri Lankesh’s death: RS Prasad slams online hate-mongersOne of the first books we read together — before getting into the weeds (I mean metaphorically) of religion, politics, and life itself — was Will Durant’s Story of Philosophy. Neither of us was proficient in our mother tongue Kannada (at that time), so we regretfully forsook our own bounteous literature for everything from Wodehouse to Graham Greene, devouring anything that Premier Book Shop’s Mr Shanbhag could produce for us – at a matchless 20 per cent discount (others got 15 per cent). She returned to Kannada years later, but more on that soon.Meanwhile, we “skinned our hearts and skinned our knees, learned of love the ABCs.” Terry Jack’s sappy, saccharine “Seasons in the Sun” had been released a few years earlier, and we hummed it between Dylan and Beatles. I’d return to Indian music years later; she was tone deaf. We read and laughed at Eric Segal’s Love Story, saw the movies Abba, Saturday Night Fever, and Gandhi on our first dates, and went to the boonies on moonless nights to see billions and billions of stars and galaxies after reading and watching Carl Sagan.Feisty wouldn’t even begin to describe her. She hated the fact that I smoked in college. Years later, when I had given it up for a long time, she had begun to smoke. One time, she visited me in U.S (crazy innit? ex-wife visiting me? But we were better friends!) I insisted that she not smoke in the apartment because it was carpeted and the stink wouldn’t go away. It was winter.”What do you want me to do?””If you have to smoke at all, go to the rooftop and smoke.””But it’s cold and snowing!””Shrug””You tightass!…I started to smoke because of you!””Awww…sorry old girl. I’m asking you to stop now.””Yeah, right. You’ve become too *&^%$#@ American!””American has nothing to do with it. Being healthy.””Bollocks. I’ll outlive you!”Liar.Many friends were bemused by our unbroken friendship. Separations and divorces are often messy, bitter, and spiteful in India, or anywhere for that matter. We had our volcanic moments, but we transcended that quickly, bound by higher ideals. On our day in court, as we stood next to each other, our hands reached out. Fingers interlaced. If you want to go your own ways, better disengage, the lawyer hissed.After it was done and dusted (“by mutual consent”), we went out for lunch at the Taj down MG Road. The restaurant was called Southern Comfort. We laughed at the irony and said goodbye as I moved first to Delhi, them Mumbai, then Washington DC. She visited me in each place to argue about Life, the Universe, and Everything (we read Douglas Adams in school).My parents loved her despite her rebellious nature, and remarkably for traditional, orthodox Indian parents, kept in touch with her – and she with them — even after we split. One time, when I told her about a budding dalliance, she drew herself to her full height (all of five feet and HALF INCH – she never failed to emphasize the half inch) and said: “Ha! You can never take away the honor of being the first daughter-in-law of the family.” When my mother passed away this past February, Gauri Lankesh was there, literally “live casting” for me the final rites as I flew home.My ties with her family were as unusual. Through our separation and splitsville, I continued to meet her dad P.Lankesh, a writer, playwright, film-maker and an inspiration for a generation of rebel writers and journalists, and her sister Kavitha – “baby” to us-now a fine film-maker in her own right. Early in our college dalliance, after Lankesh’s due diligence determined that I passed the literary litmus test, I became part of the family – including the extended family of writers, poets, artists, teachers, and what I’d kid as the “buddhijeevi” (intellectual) crowd.Starting early 80s, we met every Sunday evening for a game of cards, where the stakes were modest but the conversation was rich. Poetry, proverbs, epigrams, aphorisms, bon mots in English and Kannada flowed ebulliently at the table. If someone slowed down the game, someone else would intone “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…” Another person: “….creeps at this petty pace from day to day.” Third one: “…to the last syllable of recorded time!” It became bad form to speak in anything other than through literary allusions – in any language. A daring pick always invited “Vinashakaale Vipareetha Buddhi.”They were brilliant, effervescent men, and Gauri (who joined us occasionally and was the only woman at the table) and I marinated in their learning. Appa, as I called Lankesh, taught Eng.lit in Bangalore University, but had decamped to Kannada when we met, having just directed his first movie (I think it was either Anuroopa or Pallavi, and it won the national award). Like many great Kannada writers (Bendre, Kuvempu etc) he started out wanting to write in English before finding his métier in his roots. His play “Sankranti’ was prescribed reading for undergrads, but we discussed everyone from Kalidasa to Ibsen, Chekhov, and Brecht.All this continued through courtship, marriage, separation, and divorce, and even after I moved to U.S. Every time I went home, over a drink or two, pop-in-law and I, refereed by his daughter, would argue about politics, religion, literature, movies, U.S-India ties, farming distress, health, the world. Father and daughter would tease me about abandoning the good fight, while I’d insist that it was temporary, and a little time and distance is good for perspective. Lankesh had a low threshold for idiocy (there was a high turnover at the cards table in the initial years with those unable to handle his temperament scramming quickly) but his continued affection for me earned brownie points from Gauri. When he passed away in 2000, she truly became her father’s daughter, taking over the newspaper he founded and continuing the good fight.To this day, I unfailingly drop into to the Sunday cards table (long after Lankesh passed away, Doc Gowda, the writer-physician, is the current torchbearer). At every other visit or so, as the years took their toll of the older generation, I’d see someone missing at the table. “Yelli Sharma? (Where’s Sharma?)” I’d ask, as they made place for me at the cards table, referring to the wonderful poet Ramachandra Sharma. “Oh! He’s gone up to join Lankesh at another table,” someone would respond, without batting an eyelid or breaking the game. “And Mysoremath is on his way to join them. He’s in hospital.”I’m relating all this to give a sense of the intellectual atmosphere Gauri grew up in – practical, rational, and largely agnostic. Death was just incidental. Respect, affection, and admiration for the good people did and what they stood for was important. Her – our – favorite word and topic of conversation in recent years was “horaata” – a Kannada word roughly meaning a movement/agitation/revolution. “Haegide horaata?” I’d ask during our occasional phone calls. She’d launch into a litany of struggles she was in at the moment.Gauri’s presence at the cards table became rare as she threw herself into the fight against right-wing bigots, zealots, and extremists. We argued about that too at the cards table because some friends thought she had gone the other extreme. There was no doubt she was left of center, even extreme left of center. But heart was in the right place, and there was no place in her world for violence. Only cowards took to violence.Some eight years back, after I had built a new home in Bangalore in the fond hope that I’d return to India some day, she determined that I needed a housekeeper to manage the place. “I am sending someone over,” she declared over the phone. “She’s a widow with two young daughters. Make sure you take care of them and put them through school.” It was an order. I complied.Ramakka, her gift to us, is still with us; her daughters Asha and Usha both finished from school, earned degrees, and now work – Asha in Syndicate Bank and Usha at an NGO. There are hundreds of Ashas and Ushas because of Gauri Lankesh.Just a few weeks ago, when Mary, the kids and I were in India, Gauri called to announce she was coming over. She always came to see the kids, bearing gifts, none more precious than the love and warmth she brought with her. Days passed, and she did not turn up. Busy, busy, busy, she said…you know how hard it is handling the paper and fighting the chaddis (she called the right wing nutters “chaddis”).One day, she called to announce that she’s coming with her son. “Who have you adopted now?” I asked. “Kanhaiya Kumar,” she chuckled. “You mean the JNU bloke?” “Yes, you’ll love meeting him.” Little later she called to say his flight was late and she can’t make it. That was the last time I heard her voice. Bubbly and bursting with energy and passion for causes big and small.As my plane now wings towards India to a place without Gauri, my mind is a cauldron of fragmented memories. One phrase keeps repeating and resonating in my mind: Amazing Grace. Forget all other labels: leftist, radical, anti-Hindutva, secular etc. For me, there is just this: She is the epitome of Amazing Grace.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Karnataka government set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Wednesday to probe journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder that has sparked widespread outrage. The Union Home Ministry also sought a report from Karnataka, a day after the 55-year-old was shot dead, as she was entering her residence in Bengaluru, by unidentified motorcycle-borne men.Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called the murder an “organised crime” and said his government was open to an investigation by the CBI as is being demanded by Lankesh’s family.Lankesh’s views on Hindu right wing politics and her taking up of rights issues including those of Maoists often triggered controversies. The murder also sparked a war of words between BJP and Opposition leaders.”No deadline has been fixed for the SIT, but it has been asked to take up the work immediately, Siddaramaiah said. The SIT will be headed by an Inspector General-rank officer.There were four CCTV cameras installed near her house, and one of them caught the image of a person wearing a helmet and entering the gate and firing at her.Investigators are scrutinising the footage to get clues about the killers.There were protests in Bengaluru, Delhi and other cities to condemn the murder and call for a firm stand against attempts to gag the voices of dissent. A protest meet was also organised by journalists at the Press Club of India here to seek justice.Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said the killings of rationalists, free thinkers and journalists in the country have created an atmosphere that dissent, ideological differences and divergence of views can endanger lives.”Anybody who speaks against the ideology of BJP and RSS, is “pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed,” said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari called the Congress allegation irresponsible and baseless.”Levelling ‘untrue’ allegations against the BJP is injustice to his party and detrimental to democracy. BJP or any of its organisations have no connection with the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh,” he said.BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao accused Rahul of trying to seek “political capital” out of the murder.The modus operandi is similar to the three murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, killed in Pune in 2013, Govind Pansare, murdered in Kolhapur in 2015, and MM Kalburgi, shot dead at his residence in Karnataka’s Dharwad the same year.Family members of Dabholkar and Pansare condemned Lankesh’s killing and said that these murders was a warning sign that India’s democracy is in danger.”The murder of a female journalist and activist is deeply shocking. The modus operandi is similar to that in the three murders of rationalists,” Dabholkar’s son Hamid said.Pansare’s family joined protests in Delhi. His daughter Megha said, “These four murders in a span of four years is a signal that the some elements have taken up anti-democratic path to silence the voice of dissent.”
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday, senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in her own house in Bengaluru. She had started her own tabloid magazine in 2005 titled Gauri Lankesh Patrike. One of her stories even landed her in jail. According to a report in The NewsMinute, she was shot at 6:30 PM by unidentified men. Police were quoted saying that she was opening the front door of her house when assailants shot at her, hitting her in the chest. She was the daughter of writer, translator and journalist P Lankesh and was a vocal critic of Hindutva and the right wing.Last year she was convicted of criminal defamation in two cases.BJP MP Prahallad Joshi and BJP leader Umesh Dushi had filed defamation cases against Lakesh in objection to a report on them on January 23, 2008.Karnataka police chief R K Dutta said Lankesh was shot dead by unidentified assailants at the entrance of her residence in Raj Rajeshwari Nagar.Lankesh, in her 50s, edited a Kannada tabloid ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ besides owning some other publications.Dutta said Lankesh had not voiced apprehension about any threat to her life during a couple of meetings he had with her.Asked about who could be the possible suspects in the killing, the officer refused to hazard any guess, saying “let the investigation proceed first.”Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy condemned the incident, calling it unfortunate.Lankesh was convicted in a defamation case filed by BJP MP Prahlad Joshi over a report published in her tabloid against some saffron party leaders.Several people in media and public life took to twitter to express shock at Lankesh’s killing.”As a friend, colleague & admirer for decades shocked & shattered to hear of the murder of Gauri Lankesh, one of India’s gutsiest journalists,” said Vir Sanghvi, an eminent media personality.”If it is BJP ruled state, Liberals would have cried for emergency, Intolerance, Fascism,” tweeted National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan tweeted: “Shocking & tragic! Brave journalist Gauri Lankesh who exposed the BJP has been shot dead in her home in Bangalore!” She had told News Laundry in an interview: “Unfortunately, today anybody talking in support of human rights and against fake encounters is branded a Maoist supporter. Along with that, my criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system, which is part and parcel of what is considered ‘Hindu dharma’, makes my critics brand me as a ‘Hindu hater’. But I consider it my constitutional duty to continue – in my own little way – the struggle of Basavanna and Dr Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society.”