Gauri Lankesh’s siblings said that she has ideological differences with right wing extremists and issues with naxals, any group could have killed her.

Dont brand my sister a naxal or naxal sympathiser Gauri Lankeshs brother
news Gauri Lankesh Thursday, September 07, 2017 - 18:33

Journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead in Bengaluru on Tuesday, used to often receive hateful or threatening messages on social media, but never took them too seriously.

Interacting with the media on Thursday, two days after their sister was murdered, Kavitha Lankesh and Indrajit Lankesh responded to several questions related to Gauri and the case. 

In an interview with Republic TV, Indrajit had stated that "Naxals were behind her murder". "I don't know why people are saying it as the RSS or BJP. She had received many threatening letters from the Naxals. The investigation should pursue that angle," he had told Republic TV.

But in the press meet on Thursday, Indrajit insisted that his statement had been misinterpreted and that he was not blaming any particular group.

Kavitha Lankesh said that she believed her sister had been killed for her ideological differences. When asked to elaborate what these differences were, Indrajit replied on her behalf and said,  “She was a hardcore critic of right wing extremists. She was leftist in her viewpoint. She was criticizing them through her tabloid. So police are investigating if that’s the intention behind her killing. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had asked her to be the head of a committee which dealt with bringing the Naxalites into the mainstream. And as Gauri was helping to rehabilitate them. So that is another angle,” he said.

Indrajit took exception to the fact that many were calling Gauru a naxal sympathizer and naxal.

“Some are calling her a Naxal and Naxal sympathiser. Don’t brand her like that. She was only bringing naxals to the mainstream, that does not mean she is a naxal. All I want to say is that the police should probe all angles and not just one," Indrajit said.  

When asked if she ever received any personal threats, Kavitha added, "Sometimes I think so. They have said many things. She had also complained about it once, a year back. She never took it seriously," she said.

While Gauri is known to have been extremely critical of the BJP's politics, she had ideological differences with Indrajit who was rumoured to be close to the BJP. 

However, Indrajit dismissed the claims on social media that he was a member of the saffron party.  

"As a journalist, I may have a different view point. I may not be satisfied with the government, but I do not have anything against Siddaramaiah. Siddaramaiah treated Gauri like his daughter and they were working together on the issue of rehabilitation of Naxalites," he said. 

Kavitha said that the fight was not just for

‘Not here for controversy’

Kavitha also strongly objected when a journalist said that it seemed like the family was speaking in two voices. 

"We are not here for controversy. We have a single voice here including my mother who is not here because she wanted to go to the cemetery. We are not here to have difference of opinions. We are just here to say that we want justice for our sister. Basically, we think there was an ideological difference that they didn't tolerate. Don't put words into our mouth,” Kavita said.

While it is difficult to miss the similarities between the killing of Pansare, Kalburgi and Dabholkar, Indrajit, however, said that they did not want to reach any conclusions. 

"We don't want to come to any conclusion. In Kalburgi's case, they came to a conclusion of right wing extremists but nothing has been proved yet and no one has been caught yet," he said. 

When asked if he was unhappy with the Chief Minister handing over the probe to the Special Investigative Team instead of the CBI, Kavita and Indrajit said that it was too early to comment.

“It has been only a few hours since the SIT began probing my sister’s death. We will wait and see how the SIT’s investigation progresses. If they are unable to catch the killer, then I will demand a CBI probe or even ask that a judicial probe be conducted. We only want Gauri’s killer to be arrested. We just want justice for our sister,” Indrajit said.

The deceased journalist’s siblings, however, denied allegations that the motive behind Gauri’s killings was a personal one.

“Her life was her work. She was a very simple human being who dedicated her life to helping others. She did not have many worldly possessions and did not live beyond her means. Making money was not even a thought. She lived for her work and for what she believed in. She did not have any other enemies besides the ones she had because of her work,” Kavitha said.

A loving aunt

The family often used to get together during festivals and birthdays. 

"She was supposed to come for the Ganesha festival (at home), which she always does. She is an atheist but she liked the food we used to prepare," Indrajit. 

"She might not have a picture of me and or her (Kavitha) in the house. But as I entered the house that night, I was taken aback. I was shocked and I don't know how to put that in words. She had the pictures of both our kids in every room. And she loved our kids, and she used to attend every function of theirs," he recounted.

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