Towards One India, one voice


With the savage killing of prominent journalist Gauri Lankesh by gunmen in Karnataka, the message is loud and clear: fall in line or face the music. Gauri Lankesh was a fearless liberal voice, a vociferous critic of Hindutwa forces led by BJP and its parent organization RSS. Her killing has brought out a terrible fact to the fore that the era of free press in India has gone. It is now time for “one India, one voice”. BJP-led government at the centre earlier gave new tax regime which was named as “one India, one tax”. The central government is now inching towards bringing abolishing the Personal Law governing social relations of different religious populations, and bringing up a inform civil code. Article 370 and 35A of Indian constitution which accords some special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is also under threat. All this is done under the pretext of “One India, one law”. This way they are changing the entire edifice of India as a State and nation. Waging war against meat (in the name of protecting cow), the BJP is now fixing menu for kitchens too. This is mainly the RSS agenda, who want a secular India to change into a Hindu India. The irony is that it is done by all means—unbridled power—whether by the State or street force. Today, we are witness to a unity of drive and purpose, in entire India, where full-scale attacks on debate and dissent have become very much the norm ... with voices of reason being muzzled and shut by force. The murder of Gauri Lankesh is a part of this reckless campaign to bulldoze the very ideological foundation of India. It is a public fact that Hindutwa forces hate liberal leaning voices. They use all means to shut them up. Some months back, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided the offices and home of NDTV promoters Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy over allegations of defrauding the ICICI Bank and causing a loss of Rs 48 crore. The CBI raids were conducted two days after NDTV anchor person Nidhi Razdan asked BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, during a panel discussion, to leave the show or apologize, after he accused the channel of having an agenda against him and his party. While chairing a panel discussion on the BJP’s latest ban on cattle slaughter, Razdan went to author Sanjoy Hazarika for his views on the issue, when both of them were interrupted by Patra. The BJP spokesperson had to leave the show as he refused to apologize for his remarks. Within next 72 hours, CBI conducted raids of offices and homes of NDTV promoters alleging them of committing financial frauds. Though they came clean of the CBI charge but the message was delivered in no uncertain terms—behave. BJP government’s hate for free press could be understood from the fact that despite being over three years in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not held even a single press conference so far. He is using All India Radio and social media to express his views of issues pertaining to the government. During massacre of Muslims in Gujrat when Modi was chief minister, he faced severe criticism from the national mainstream media. While vernacular press in Gujarati media crossed all limits of responsible journalism and fed on the prevalent anti-Muslim prejudices during and post the Gujarat carnage period, the mainstream English journalists took Modi to task accusing him of omissions and commissions while dealing with Hindu rioters. It is generally believed that he has been nursing a grudge against media outlets who believe in responsible journalism. The BJP has since cultivated its own people in the media and some organizations (TV channels) do brazenly support his fascist policies. Murder of Gauri Lankesh is massive stride towards silencing the voices of reason and dissent and making India, one nation one voice.