Cases restricting press freedom and proliferating intolerance across India and other countries are on the rise with each passing day. Despite the fact that there has been a method in this brute madness in which rationalists are killed, investigations have made little headway in the previous three high profile killings that happened in a similar manner prior to the latest hate crime-- Gauri Lankeshs' murder.
On August 20, 2013, Narendra Dabholkar, an anti-superstition activist who hailed from Maharashtra was shot dead while he was out on a morning walk near his residence. His killing is being investigated by the CBI and so far only on arrest—that of a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, a right-wing 'radical Hindu' group—has been made
Another activist, CPI leader and trade unionist, 82-yeqr-old Govind Pansare who was also leading the anti-toll movement in Kolhapur, was shot by muffler-wrapped gunman. He was also killed while he was entering his house in Kolapur after a morning stroll on February 16, 2015.
Five months after Pansare's killing, another social activist and noted Kannada writer, MM Kalburgi was shot with two bullets that were pumped into his head and chest in the morning hours on August 30, 2015 at his residence in Dharwad in northern Karnataka. Despite being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department of Karnataka, no breakthrough has been made in the case and no arrests have been carried out.
And now, the elimination of Gauri Lankesh, Editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a weekly Kannada tabloid, has brought to light the startling pattern in which the 'strong voices being brutally silenced,' yet again.
On Tuesday Gauri Lankesh was shot three times by unidentified men at close range at around 8 pm at the entrance of her house in Bengaluru.
Ms. Lankesh, remembered for her gutsy approach to issues, was a rationalist and had written on different political issues like the plight of the Rohingya Muslim community, transgender rights and the mystery of the deaths of children in Gorakhpur.
Her killing has yet again raised questions on the inquiry commissions which have miserably failed to solve the cases of this category in the past. There surely is a mystery behind the identities of who engineered the killings but there is no mistaking that the common thread which made them the targets of the gun was their stances against injustice and their rationalist ideology.