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Press Release issued by Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, MP and Spokesperson, AICC

हमने सुना है की अब इस देश में पूछना गुनाह है

विचारों की पाबंदी, सोचने की पाबंदी, लिखने पर पाबंदी अब नहीं है,

अब तो विचारों की हत्या, सोच की हत्या और लिखने पर भी हत्या हो रही है।

Democracy is being throttled, asphyxiated.

Media freedom is on the ventilator.

Right to Question is being murdered.

When "intellectual" becomes an abuse, words are replied with bullets.

 

The shocking and blood curdling murder of senior journalist and activist, GauriLankesh is a grim reminder of the times we live in. This mindless and cowardly assassination has not only shaken our conscience but also an extremely sad moment for our Democracy. In condemning this debilitating attack, the Congress party stands as one with the rationalists, thinkers, journalists and the media fraternity. Congress President, Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Vice President, Shri Rahul Gandhi  have spoken to the Chief Minister of Karnataka, ShriSiddaramaiah and urged him to swiftly bring the culprits to the book. Every possible measure should be taken to maintain a safe and secure atmosphere in the state.

According to the police, this murder happened at around 8PM, yesterday night, in which MsLankesh,was found lying in a pool of blood on her porch, shot dead. The state has put its best investigative officers to work and the Chief Minister has promised that the assailants will be swiftly nabbed. The CM further has said that three police teams have been formed to investigate and nab the culprits.There was no Intelligence input prior to the attack. Even GauriLankesh hadn't sought police protection, the CM has said. We urge the Karnataka Government to take prompt action and bring these criminals to book.

The series of killings of rationalists, free thinkers and journalists has created an atmosphere that dissent, ideological differences and divergence of views can endanger our lives. This cannot be and should not be tolerated. This is not an isolated incident; neither is it the first one. There is a definite pattern in the murder of rationalists and free thinkers and those who question the Government - Dabholkar, Pansare and MM Kalburgi and now GauriLankesh.

An unprecedented atmosphere of hate and intolerance is being created in order to take on those who have ideologically divergent views. "If you do not agree with us, we shall kill you” is the new slogan of 'New India'. Muzzling the voice of ordinary citizens and the lynch mob mentality has become a regular habit of this "New India/ Achhe Din” Government.

We must ask ourselves, why did this atmosphere of bigotry and hate not cultivated before 2014?

We must ask ourselves, why were rationalists, free thinkers, journalists or even ordinary citizens were not lynched and murdered because they did not follow the unwritten dictum set by the state?

We must not step into the muddy waters of crushing dissent; in a Democracy we should accept divergence of views. But why is this 'Climate of Intolerance' and 'Lynching Movement' being deliberately thrust upon us.

Why is the Social Media abuzz with the outbursts of BJP-RSS supporters justifying this cowardly crime?

Why is the Prime Minister even following such people on Social Media who take sadist pleasure in condoning a life of an individual, just because she did not belong to their ideology?

Why is ShriNarendra Modi following such accounts who are involved in these illegal and unlawful activities?

A party which takes no shame in calling journalists as 'presstitutes' and a Prime Minister who can call them 'Bazaroo' can go to any extent in suppressing their voice.

India is in the throes of a violent clash between advocates of freedom of speech and the Government of Prime Minister ShriNarendra Modi is determined to silence dissent.

Intolerance towards criticism is contrary to the very essence of democracy. Gagging media and often subjecting them through torture is often a sign of dictatorial regimes. A thriving democracy such as India's must provide conducive atmosphere for fearless journalism and freedom of speech to flourish. It is now time to save our Democracy from this cycle of intolerance and hate.


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