Murder Most Foul

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The murder of the journalist Guari Lankesh has once again highlighted the grim situation prevailing in India. Lankesh, an editor of the Kannada weekly Lankesh Patrike, was a forthright critic of the Hindutva forces in the country and so her killing is attributed to the ideological reasons. Her supporters are also drawing parallels between her murder and that of the rationalist and writer M M Kalburgi. Kalburgi’s murder remains unresolved so far. Shockingly enough, killing of Lankesh has been celebrated by the alleged RSS activists across Twitter. In fact, even one journalist Jagruti Shukla has approved of the killing of Lankesh saying that she deserved it. The killing has generated widespread outrage and the condemnation across the country. More than a crime, Lankesh’s murder is a comment on the sad state of affairs prevailing in the country. Incidentally, killings like these have coincided with and followed the lynchings of Muslims in the name of cow protection. So much so that the situation seems now a new normal, just what Lankesh had herself said in a piece she wrote not long before her death.

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Though, there is a considerable sense of unease in parts of the country over the progressive deterioration in the situation, a social consensus in favour of the Sangh Parivar reigns supreme and also continues unchallenged. Considering the prevailing state of politics in the country, it appears that the Hindutva ideology is only growing from strength to strength. The new turn of events is one more indication of the troubling direction India is taking. The country is in for a decisive ideological makeover away from Nehruvian secularism. And BJP with its absolute majority at the centre and in the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has all the political power at its disposal to effect this profound transformation. This has made the minorities and the vast secular population of the country deeply anxious. Besides, Modi’s takeover as PM has been responsible for deepening the insecurities of minorities, particularly Muslims. His three years in power have ushered in a new political sensibility and a new ruling intelligence explicitly informed by the resolve to reclaim India for Hindus. Many outfits who claim to represent the exclusive interests of Hindus have felt empowered. And their leaders have felt free to issue communally-tinged statements which have vitiated the atmosphere. The outcome is that the secularism in India has taken a mortal beating. That is, even though secularism in India wasn’t all that it professed to be before Modi arrived on the scene. Muslims have become the choicest targets of a ruthless right-wing Hindu violence, one that now seems to enjoy a degree of social sanction. Liberal thinkers seem to be the next on block. And with the murder of Lankesh, they have shown that they won’t barred by any previous red-lines and will cross them wilfully in their bid to impose a monochromatic ideological vision on the country.

 

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