The Congress party has condemned the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh with party president Sonia Gandhi saying it was a chilling reminder that “intolerance and bigotry are raising its ugly head in our society”. Her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of silencing dissent, saying it was a part of their ideology. “Anyone who speaks against BJP is silenced...” Rahul Gandhi said.
Senior leader P Chidambaram and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also expressed shock at the killing of the journalist in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening.
In condemning this debilitating attack, the Congress party stands as one with the rationalists, thinkers, journalists and the media fraternity, Sonia Gandhi said. The Congress president described Lankesh as one with fearless and independent views, who had extraordinary grit and determination to take on the system.
The series of killings of rationalists, free thinkers and journalists in the country has created an atmosphere that dissent, ideological differences and divergence of views can endanger our lives. This cannot be and should not be toleratedSonia Ganhi, Congress President
“It is an extremely sad moment for our democracy and a chilling reminder of the fact that intolerance and bigotry is raising its ugly head in our society,” she said in a statement.
Sonia Gandhi as well as Rahul Gandhi have spoken to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiahand urged him to swiftly bring the culprits to the book.
Rahul Ganhi said: “People say that the Prime Minister is quiet and Prime Minister has not said anything. The point is the entire ideology is to silence voices.”
Sometimes, under pressure, the Prime Minister makes some statements. But the entire idea is to crush dissent. Non-violence is the history of this nation... Murder cannot be justifiedRahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President
He also said that he spoke to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and has been assured that the guilty will not be spared. He added it was very important that the perpetrators were caught and punished and the chief minister had assured him of that.
The Congress vice president went on attacking Modi and described him as a “skilled Hindutva politician”, what he spoke had a different meaning for his base and another one for the world.
“No one can suppress the truth. The RSS and BJP ideology is trying to suppress the truth but this cannot happen in India,” he said.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also spoke out.
“Gauri Lankesh: another anti-establishment voice silenced. Freedom is in peril. Liberty will survive only where contrarian views are freely spoken and written,” he said on Twitter. He added that Lankesh was afraid of no one. “Who was afraid of Gauri Lankesh?.”
The Punjab chief minister said such brazen intolerance had no place in a civilised democratic society. “Strongly condemn Gauri Lankesh murder. No place for such brazen intolerance in a civilised democratic society. Exemplary punishment needed,” Singh said.
Lankesh, known for her forthright views on Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at her residence last evening.