Canadian municipality Burnaby to recognise September 5th as Gauri Lankesh Day

Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby, made the proclamation and described Lankesh as a “courageous Indian journalist who stood up for truth and justice"

Gauri Lankesh
Gauri Lankesh was gunned down by right-wing extremists outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on September 5, 2017

The city of Burnaby, a Canadian municipality, had proclaimed September 5 as Gauri Lankesh Day in honour of the late-journalist-turned-activist. Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby, made the proclamation and described Lankesh as a “courageous Indian journalist who stood up for truth and justice.”

Canadians of Indian origin have contributed and worked to make this dedication possible.

Lankesh was a journalist from Bengaluru, Karnataka who later ventured into activism. She was an editor for Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada weekly started by her father P Lankesh and also ran her own weekly newspaper called Gauri Lankesh Patrike. She had consistently written against the growing fanaticism in the country under the current Hindu nationalist BJP government in New Delhi.

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Also read: Three years on, Gauri Lankesh still awaits justice

Lankesh was honoured with the Anna Politkovskaya Award for her activism against right-wing extremism, being an advocate for women’s rights and opposing caste-based discrimination.

She was assassinated outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on September 5, 2017, at the hands of right-wing extremists. Her murder was condemned by several people and organisations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Indian National Congress and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Singh.

But several supporters of PM Modi, and RSS members also celebrated her murder on social media. The BBC described her assassination as the “most high-profile journalist to be murdered in recent years”. It was alleged that her murder was part of an larger conspiracy to take out anti-Hindutva voices, said Mint newspaper.

Lankesh was given a state funeral with a gun salute on September 6, 2017, after her body was kept at Ravindra Kalakshetra for the public to pay tributes.

Last year, the City of Burnaby had proclaimed a day to honour Jaswant Singh Khalra, the human rights activist who was killed by the Indian police for documenting the cases of those kidnapped and eliminated in an extra-judicial manner in the name of ending Sikh militancy in Punjab. Khalra was abducted on September 6, 1995 from his home in Amritsar, and later murdered.

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