Stand Up to the Murder of Dissent in Modi’s India!
Stop the Killings of Journalists!
“….we are living in such times that Modi Bhakts and the Hindutva brigade welcome the killings… and celebrate the deaths …. of those who oppose their ideology, their political party and their supreme leader Narendra Modi. I was referring to such people because, let me assure you, they are keen to somehow shut me up too”
– Gauri Lankesh, assassinated 5 September 2017, Bangalore
- Room G05, University of the Arts London (UAL)
- 272 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EY
- Rana Ayyub, journalist & author of ‘The Gujarat Files’ (via Skype)
- Abbas Nasser, journalist, Al Arabi TV, formerly Al Jazeera
- Nitasha Kaul, Kashmiri writer and academic
- Tim Dawson, President, National Union of Journalists
- Plus Video message from anti-communal activist Teesta Setalvad
India has become a country where Hindu supremacist gangs can lynch and rape freely and without any fear of punishment, where children, women and men are brutally killed for what they eat, who they love and simply for who they are, where history is rewritten demonising Muslim rulers and where, while unemployment and farmers suicides are soaring, corporates and business people close to the ruling BJP are able to reap massive profits. Against this background those who dissent, or even simply report the unvarnished truth, are being specifically targeted, dismissed from their jobs, attacked and now increasingly killed. India is 136th among 180 countries in terms of freedom of the press and journalists are reported to be in more danger in India than in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
On 5 September, Gauri Lankesh, a well-known journalist and human rights activist was assassinated outside her home in Bangalore, as she returned from a day’s work. An outspoken critic of the Hindu supremacist BJP and its myriad off-shoots, she was a tower of strength for younger progressive journalists and activists. She was also a feminist who spoke and wrote about the attacks on women by the Hindutva forces and she had continued to write and speak out undeterred by, threats, defamation charges brought by BJP politicians and jail sentences. She had commented in November 2016 on the killing of scholar and rationalist writer M.M. Kalburgi and writer and the death of critic U R Ananthamurthy : ‘We are living in such times that Modi Bhakts and the Hindutva brigade welcome the killings… and celebrate the deaths of those… who oppose their ideology, their political party and their supreme leader Narendra Modi. I was referring to such people because, let me assure you, they are keen to somehow shut me up too.’ Lankesh’s death too has been celebrated with ghoulish comments on social media from Modi’s supporters including those whom he follows on Twitter.
In the few weeks since her murder two more journalists have been killed, Shantanu Bhowmick in Tripura, and senior journalist K J Singh in Punjab. Others like Hindustan Times editor Bobby Ghosh have lost their jobs, in his case after Narendra Modi himself spoke to his newspaper’s proprietor. Countless others have received death threats including high profile TV anchors and print journalists.
Join us in solidarity with Indian journalists and dissenters!
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Clip of India’s Independence day protest