Canadian city to celebrate Gauri Lankesh day on September 5
Burnaby, a city in Canada, has declared September 5 as Gauri Lankesh Day, commemorating the slain activist’s life on her death anniversary. The decision was taken during the Burnaby City Council meeting on August 30 and a proclamation, signed by city mayor Mike Hurley, was published on the official website subsequently.
Gauri Lankesh, a journalist-turned-activist, was shot dead outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bengaluru, by unidentified men on September 5, 2017. The 55-year-old was an open critic of the Hindutva politics in the state.
The proclamation hails Gauri as a courageous Indian journalist who stood up for truth and justice. “Gauri Lankesh, through her work, encouraged her readers to adopt scientistic temperament and reject religious fanaticism, caste-based discrimination and bigotry,” read the proclamation uploaded on the city website.
In April 2020, the city of Burnaby proclaimed April 14 as ‘Dr BR Ambedkar Day of Equality’. Also, the city declared a day dedicated to civil rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra and Sikh Heritage.
Filmmaker and Gauri’s sister, Kavitha Lankesh said that she is happy that a city in Canada has recognised her sister’s work. “I’m very happy to hear that. I didn’t know about this until someone informed me. I’m very happy that Gauri’s work is being recognised internationally, even though no such recognition has been provided by the government here. I’m glad that her message is spreading across the world,” said Kavitha.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on September 8 is expected to hear the plea filed by Gauri’s sister Kavita Lankesh, challenging the dropping of charges under the Karnataka Control of Organized Crime Act 2000 (KCOCA) against one of the accused in the murder case. The bench, led by Justice AM Khanwilkar, had issued notice to Karnataka on the petition filed by Kavitha, in which she appealed against the state high court’s decision in April to quash charges under KCOCA against Mohan Nayak.
KCOCA is a law enacted by Karnataka in 2000 to combat organised crime and terrorism. The Act was modelled on the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA). According to police, if the charges of KCOCA are dropped against Nayak, it could set precedence for the charges to be dropped against other accused in the case as well.
A senior home department official, in the know of the developments, said that the SIT had approached the government to file an appeal against the Karnataka high court decision. However, the government didn’t act on it. The home minister didn’t respond to HT’s call for a comment regarding this allegation.
As per the charge sheet, Nayak is accused of providing accommodation to the killers on the outskirts of Bengaluru. He was arrested on July 19, 2018. Nayak was arrested after the main suspects in the case, including the shooter Parashuram Waghmore and mastermind of the crime Amol Kale, were taken into custody.
According to the petition filed through advocate Aparna Bhat, Nayak was also involved in arranging logistics for the killers, both before and after the crime. It stated that the high court erred in setting aside the order of the Bengaluru police commissioner passed in August 2018 invoking KCOCA against Nayak and the subsequent supplementary charge sheet filed by the Special Investigation Team under provisions of KCOCA.
The SIT filed an additional charge sheet in November 2018, in which Nayak was named. According to the charge sheet, Nayak took weapons training as well. On April 22, the Karnataka high court dropped the organised crimes charges against Nayak.