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10 interesting facts about fearless journalist Gauri Lankesh

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Gauri Lankesh
Bengaluru-based senior journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by unknown assailants outside her home at Rajarajeshwari Nagar area of the city on late Sept 5 evening.

Amid chants of “Amar rahe Gauri Lankesh (Long live Gauri Lankesh), she was laid to rest with full state honour at Chamrajpet in Bengaluru Sept 6 afternoon.

Here are 10 interesting facts about senior journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh:

1. Gauri Lankesh, 55, had reportedly been receiving threats, even on social media, for her open opposition to right wing forces.

2. Born in a Lingayat family, Gauri Lankesh was the editor of popular Kannada weekly “Lankesh Patrike”, which was started by her father, poet-journalist P. Lankesh.

3. Gauri Lankesh started her career in journalism at The Times of India in Bangalore.

4. After her father’s death in 2000, Gauri Lankesh and her brother Indrajit started running “Lankesh Patrike” together.

But things went sour between the siblings when Indrajit accused Gauri of promoting Naxalism through the weekly, while she countered the accusation and alleged her brother is opposing her social activism.

She eventually started her own weekly “Gauri Lankesh Patrike”.

5. In 2003, Gauri Lankesh openly criticized Sangh Parivar when the right-wing group allegedly tried to Hinduise the Sufi shrine – Guru Dattatreya Baba Budan Dargah – at Baba Budangiri located in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district.

6. Known for her outspoken attitude, at a rally to ban communal groups in Mangalore in 2012, Gauri Lankesh slammed Hinduism and said it is “not a religion but a system of hierarchy in society”, where “women are treated as second class creatures”.

7. She had advocated for freedom of the press throughout her lifetime.

8. So much so was she opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that she broke her 35-year-old friendship with Prakash Belawadi after he joined the party as a media advisor during the 2014 General Elections.

9. Gauri Lankesh was sentenced to jail for six months and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 in a defamation case in November 2016.

However, she was granted bail. The case was filed by BJP leaders Pralhad Joshi and Umesh Dushi, whom she had accused of cheating a jeweller of Rs 100,000 in her article dated Jan 23, 2008.

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10. She was divorced from her marriage to columnist Chidanand Rajghatta and had no biological child of her own.

However, she considered student activists Jignesh Mevani, Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid Shora as her “adopted children”.

Big Wire

Pic: Gauri Lankesh Facebook page

Sreya Basu

Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.

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