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Gauri Lankesh murder: Indian institutions can meet human rights challenges, says US

Lankesh, 55, known for her left-leaning outlook and forthright views on Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Bangalore on Tuesday.

By: PTI | Washington | Published: September 8, 2017 11:32 am
Gauri Lankesh, gauri lankesh murder, human rights, human rights violation india, india, united states, indian express news People hold placards and candles during a vigil for Gauri Lankesh, a senior Indian journalist who according to police was shot dead outside her home on Tuesday by unidentified assailants in southern city of Bengaluru, in Ahmedabad. (Reuters)

The US believes that Indian institutions have the ability to meet challenges posed by cases of infringement of human rights like the killing of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, a top American diplomat has said. Lankesh, 55, known for her left-leaning outlook and forthright views on Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Addressing a Congressional subcommittee during a hearing on South Asia, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells said India provides the “highest constitutional protections” for religious minorities, and the goal of the US is to work with India to encourage it to meet the goals set in its constitution and laws.

“You know, there are cases, obviously, of religious — as we detail in both the Human Rights Report and the International Religious Freedom Report — of infringements, and there was a tragic murder of a journalist just this week who was often the subject of nationalist criticism,” she said, in an apparent reference to the brutal killing of Lankesh. She said these are the challenges for any democracy, but India is a democracy, and it is a “vibrant democracy”.

“And we have respect for Indian institutions and ability to raise and meet these challenges. And we certainly, in all of our engagements, at senior levels, encourage the Indian government to do so,” Wells said in response to a question from Congressman Ted Yoho, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

In a statement, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it “is deeply shocked” by leading Indian journalist and media freedom defender Lankesh’s murder in Bangalore. It called on the authorities to do everything possible to quickly find and punish her killers.

“We firmly condemn this terrible murder, which has deprived the media of a tough and determined champion and has deprived India of a voice that was fundamental for the country’s democratic life,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.

The Indian National Overseas Congress in the US said Lankesh’s death appears to be a “meticulously planned” and executed to silence a powerful voice.

“The opposing forces could not match her rationale pointing up the dangers of right-wing politics and its possibly disastrous effect on the secular fabric of the nation. Her harsh criticism of prevailing casteism in the society was often directed at institutions that still harbour those sentiments and made her more of a passionate activist who had little patience for the status-quo,” George Abraham of INOC-USA said in a statement.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Director General Irina Bokova also urged Indian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“Any attack on the media is an attack on the fundamental right to freedom of expression of each member of society. I urge the Indian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and this crime is punished,” Bokova said.

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  1. Aniket Mahajan
    Sep 10, 2017 at 11:28 pm
    come on trump please break dirty tricks USA did last 100 year funded by this liberal $cavenger jihadi leftist killed more than 300 Hindus in India. US must cheek which kind of language used against Hindus on her facebook. why u released press note on gauri lankesh first place, why USA did for Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh how many condemnation press note release on hindu killings in India by this jihadi leftist.
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    1. Aniket Mahajan
      Sep 10, 2017 at 11:19 pm
      come on trump break dirty tricks USA did last 100 year funded by this liberal $cavenger jihadi killed more than 300 Hindusi India. US must cheek which kind of language used against Hindus. why u released press note on gauri lankesh first place, why USA did for Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh how many condemnation press note release on hindu killings in India by this jihadi.
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        agni
        Sep 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm
        US shld refrain from certifying ins utional health of other counties on internal matters.. There is crime in every country and most countries r capable of handling it...leave alone India whose majority Hindu Society is naturally secular and has harbored refugees through timeless ages.. a record which no other civilization (ancient or modern) can claim credit to.. It is well known that Human right fronts in US r in the hands of evangelical Church.. used to further its own propaganda and for channeling conversion funding through NGO's.. Such duplicity has no credibility.. on contrary it provides platform to antinational elements to damage their countries from within.. Indians remember how Modi was targeted by Anti National elements as Gujarat CM..and collusion of US funded NGO's in that scheme...Thankfully the ppl who betrayed their own countryman in collusion with foreign interests r well known and hopefully the Govt will take action against them..
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        1. Srinivas R Graff
          Sep 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm
          The language of guns and roses.When a gun was allegedly pointed at her, Gouri Lankesh Patrike was born. When she dared to look into many such barrels and fired many salvos,they pulled the trigger. The silence is deafening. When the ashes rise and the dust settles will more voices be heard louder than the smoking barrel or get drowned in the roaring frenzy of naysayers. Whose ideology is all encompassing? Whose ideology is universal? Whose ideology is inclusive of one and all? We have seen thru history a people and nation divided used and abused due to caste, religion, power, wealth, pride, prejudice and now politics. Saner minds have relentlessly picked up the bits and pieces of rags to s ch together the fabric of our country. Those with unabashed lust for power, TRPs and extreme views are the hyenas ripping into and gluttoning on a resurgent India. Enough of blood shot eyes and gun shot blood.Now that a voice has been laid to rest like many in the past, will someone bury the guns an
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            Mahesh
            Sep 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm
            The lady was anti Indian, anti army and a naxal. She was anti Hindu too. Good she was killed. All award Wapsi gang member are now shouting se over killing of terrorist. This is their habit as their shops are under stress. I salute the unidentified gunman who did a good job.
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