BENGALURU: Women’s rights activist Madhu Bhushan, who has known Gauri Lankesh for the last thirty years, disclosed that they had met in her office only a couple of hours before the senior journalist was shot dead on Tuesday. Bhushan said she and a friend of hers visited Lankesh at her office. Madhu’s friend wanted to access the archives of Gauri Lankesh Patrike for poems written by a common friend. “We talked so much,” said Madhu, who sounded shaken over the phone.
Their conversation went on for more than two hours and Gauri joked about how they were chatting away when she had an edition to publish. She said it had been so relaxing to talk with two women for such a long time, adding that her office staff would be wondering what she was doing. They had not met for a long time and Gauri had suggested that they do.
“We talked about family, life, cinema, politics and what is happening in the country,” Madhu said. “At some point, she said ‘I hope I am not boring you’... We even spoke about Velvet Revolution, the documentary made by Nupur Basu on women journalists in war zones that she had wanted to see.”
Madhu said Gauri was visibly distressed about what was happening in the country. “She asked why people couldn’t see what was staring at them. Gauri was very disturbed about the rise of the right wing and the impact it was going to have,” she said. “However she was optimistic about the younger and more progressive leadership like that of Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mevani.”
Gauri was “very worried” about the upcoming elections in Karnataka, especially if they would be manipulated “like what had happened in Goa and Manipur.” She did not, however, at any point, mention that she thought her life was under threat. Though she did light-heartedly say that she is careful when she visits public places.