A tribute to Gauri Lankesh, fearless defender of free speech: Statement from the Lawyers Collective 

 

Lawyers Collective condemns the cowardly murder of Gauri Lankesh, editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, who was an active voice of dissent against the obscurantist policies of the State, and stands in support of her rationalist views. We stand united for the freedom to resist, in a regime where speaking out runs the risk of being killed. Last week, on September 5th, 2017, she was murdered at the gate of her house in Bangalore, where she was shot by a spray of bullets. In this time of shock and tribulation, LC calls for a united stand of all champions of free speech. When they try to silence us, we must speak out louder.

The murder of Gauri Lankesh cannot be understood in isolation, since it is indicative of a larger pattern of silencing voices of rationalism which were seen with the murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi who were all active crusaders of free speech. These murders were all by "unidentified" persons and the cases still remain unsolved. 

These murders, which bear a striking similarly of purpose of silencing the rationalist voices, have resulted in nationwide protests among a community of people who still believe in the idea of democracy. This was an attack on the very ideas that are enshrined in our Constitution. By protesting and speaking up we are ensuring that we as a community of citizens have the freedom to speak out and dissent.

 The rule of law is endangered in a State where such acts of violence go unpunished. The State needs to be accountable for protection of the life and liberty of all citizens irrespective of their political views.

As Lawyers we pledge to defend the rule of law and condemn the use of violence to silence rational voices.

 

In support and solidarity from the Trustees of Lawyers Collective: 

  1. Indira Jaising 
  2. Anand Grover 
  3. Justice Suresh 
  4. Sanober Keshwaar 
  5. Nilima Dutta 
  6. Norma Alvarez 
  7. Mihir Desai