"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Vigil in memory of Gauri Lankesh held in Canada Featured

 

Members of the South Asian community came together to remember the slain Indian journalist at Surrey’s Holland Park on Sunday, September 5.  

Gauri Lankesh was a daring editor, who was allegedly murdered by right wing extremists in Bengaluru in 2017.  

On the fourth anniversary of her assassination, a vigil was organized by Radical Desi, an online magazine that covers alternative politics.    

Lankesh consistently wrote against superstition and growing fanaticism under the current Hindu nationalist BJP government in New Delhi. Attacks on religious minorities and political dissidents have spiked ever since the BJP came to power with a brute majority in 2014.  

Her death was rejoiced by some supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Among those present at the vigil were Burnaby City Councillor Sav Dhaliwal, who was instrumental behind the recent proclamation made by the City of Burnaby to declare September 5 as Gauri Lankesh Day.  

He was presented with the Radical Desi medal on the occasion by anti-racism educator and social justice activist Annie Ohana.  

Ohana has previously received the Radical Desi medal for standing up against repression of political dissidents in India. 

Another medal was given to former Burnaby School Trustee Baljinder Kaur Narang, for being instrumental behind the Jaswant Singh Khalra Day proclamation made last year. Khalra was a towering human rights defender who was abducted and killed by the Indian Police in 1995. Since Monday, September 6 is the anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Khlara, he was also remembered at the vigil.    

The participants lit candles in memory of Lankesh and raised slogans against the ongoing state violence under Modi. They unanimously condemned her murder and sought speedy justice.  

The vigil began with a moment of silence for Danish Siddiqui, an Indian photojournalist who died recently in the line of duty in Afghanistan, and recitation of a Punjabi poem dedicated to Lankesh by Surrey-based writer Amrit Diwana.   

Those who addressed the rally included well known community activists Sahib Singh Thind, Rakesh Kumar, Tejinder Sharma, Kesar Singh and Radical Desi director Gurpreet Singh.  

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