The editor of Lankesh Patrike was assassinated yesterday on her doorstep. She was a famous critic of Hindu nationalist politics. "We salute her for the courage with which she wrote, the conviction with which she lived her life and the boldness with which she fought the forces of evil, hatred and corruption."
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) forcefully condemns and unequivocally condemns the brutal, cowardly murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, editor of the weekly magazine Kanada Lankesh Patrike.
In a statement signed by CBCI Secretary-General, Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas, the Catholic bishops speak out against the assassination of Gauri, an independent journalist and voice of Indian democracy, well-known for her critical positions against the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party. She was shot dead last night, while returning home, and left in a pool of blood.
The bishops’ text reads: " We salute her for the courage with which she wrote, the conviction with which she lived her life and the boldness with which she fought the forces of evil, hatred and corruption." The statement continues, arguing that " The murder of this versatile and brave journalist follows other crimes of hatred of recent times: the murders of Sahitya Academy Award Winner and Writer M M Kalburgi in Dharwad, thinker Govind Pansare in in Kohlapur, thinker Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, the mob lynchings by Gau Rakshaks in the name of protecting cows, political killings in Kerala and other such hate crimes."
Bishop Mascarenhas adds that " This hatred cannot build a New India. We need love, peace and harmony and we appeal to all leaders, peoples, communities and persons in our beloved India to shun the ideologies of hatred. Let our traditional values of peace, harmony, brotherhood and tolerance prevail at all cost. Let us isolate the forces of hatred and cutting across the political, social and religious spectrum unite to build a free, democratic, secular and progressive India. "
The Bishops' denounce "this murder comes even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told the nation in his Independence day speech, “Violence has no place in free India.” We join our voices to his and to the voice of Civil Society and we unify our hearts to the hearts of all those fighting hatred, caste, regional or religious bigotry and fundamentalism. "
It recalls “what the father of our Nation wrote in Young India in 1925: “By a long course of prayerful discipline, I have ceased for over forty years to hate anybody. I know that this is a big claim. Nevertheless, I make it in all humility. But I can and I do hate evil wherever it exists. My non co-operation has its root not in hatred, but in love. My personal religion peremptorily forbids me to hate anybody. I learnt this simple yet grand doctrine when I was twelve years old through a school book, and the conviction has persisted up to now. It is daily growing on me. It is a burning passion with me.” (YI, 6-8-1925, p. 272).”
On behalf of all prelates, Msgr. Mascarenhas concludes: " The Catholic Church in India prays for peace, harmony and the victory of light over darkness, love over hatred, good over evil. God bless India. "
(Purushottam Nayak collaborated)
The woman was shot three times on her way home. She had denounced a local leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party. A Maoist sympathizer, she believed in the "Constitution that teaches me to be a secular, non-sectarian citizen".
Gauri Lankesh was killed on September 5 and her assassins are still at large. The intellectual was known for her criticisms of the Hindu nationalist party in the government. Fr. Prakash: "Hers was an unstoppable crusade for the freedom of thought and expression."
The diocesan administrator, Mgr Bosco Penha, told AsiaNews about the solidarity of the church. The bishops' conference and lay associations of the diocese and the rest of the country have heaped condemnation on the attack.