Based on the advice of the Intelligence department of Karnataka Police, as many as 25 Kannada literary figures and progressive thinkers have been provided security in the aftermath of the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.
The literary figures include Girish Karnad, Baragur Ramachandrappa, K S Bhagwan, Yogesh Master, Banjagere Jayaprakash, Patil Putappa, Chennaveera Kanavi, Nataraj Huliyar and Chandrashekhar Patil. A few strong proponents of an ongoing movement for separation of the Linagayat community from Hinduism which includes former IAS officer S M Jamdar, have also been provided state protection following Lankesh’s murder.
The move to provide security to writers and thinkers was taken after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah issued instructions to police last week to ensure the protection of literary figures who have been espousing open views on matters of religion and rituals in the country.
“Security has been provided to 25 persons in Karnataka after the shooting of Gauri Lankesh. They include many prominent writers and thinkers,” police sources said. The list of writers and thinkers to be provided protection was drawn up randomly after considering controversies surrounding their work and speeches, sources said.
The killing of Gauri Lankesh, 55, came a little over two years after the murder of Kannada scholar and researcher M M Kalburgi in Dharwad on August 30, 2015. Soon after the killing of Lankesh, some individuals on social media declared that more progressive thinkers would be targeted. One of these people, Mallanagouda Basanagouda Biradar, 22, was arrested by the Bengaluru Police on September 7 for issuing threats to writers and thinkers on social media.
Earlier in 2015, in the aftermath of Kalburgi’s murder, right-wing activist Bhuvith Shetty had tweeted an incendiary message that had led to his arrest. “Then it was Anantamoorty and now it’s M M Kalburgi. Mock Hinduism and die a dog’s death. And dear K S Bhagwan you are next,” Shetty had posted shortly after Kalburgi’s death.