BENGALURU: Thousands gathered at the 'I am Gauri' protests held in Bengaluru by the Gauri Lankesh Hathya Virodhi Horata Vedike (Forum against the Murder of Gauri Lankesh) here on Tuesday. Cries of “Nanoo Gauri” (I am Gauri) filled the air.
Headbands with "I am Gauri" emblazoned on them were sported by all the protestors.
Among well-known faces in the crowd were Medha Patkar, Sitaram Yechury, Teesta Setalvad, AK Subbaiah, P Sainath, Prakash Raj, Kavitha Krishnan, Girish Karnad, Anand Patwardhan, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sagarika Ghosh, Justice Venkatachalapathy, Prashanth Bhushan and H S Doreswamy.
Indira Lankesh, Gauri's mother, released a commemorative edition of Gauri Lankesh Patrike on the occasion. The cover read, "My voice cannot be silenced". The editorial read, “My death won half the battle, it is your responsibility to win the other half.”
Speaking at the rally, CPI leader Sitaram Yechury said, “The idea of India is not abstract. It is concrete. The diversity of India, along with the opportunity to speak, disagree and dissent, is what makes this country. Gauri never eliminated ideas but the battle of ideas was fought with bullets.”
Medha Patkar recalled that Gauri had been a part of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, a people’s movement against big dams on the Narmada river, which now fights for the rights of those displaced by the projects.
Several other activists, writers and journalists flocked to the city from across the country for the event. Students and members of organisations of various ideological hues gathered at Central College grounds, marching in from city railway station. Those marching were seen singing protest songs, raising slogans like "Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe" (Long live Gauri Lankesh) and demanding that Lankesh's assailants be brought to book. Traffic was thrown out of gear along the entire stretch till afternoon.
#IamGauri hastag was trending on Twitter in Bengaluru. Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Ambedkarite groups, Muslim organisations, transgenders, students, writers, activists, theatre personalities, actors, journalists and several NGOs participated.
Books written and translated by Gauri were on sale at the protest site along with the commemorative edition of her magazine produced by her team after her death.
The organisers were also raising funds, aiming to collect Rs 12 lakh, which was the cost to conduct the rally.
(with inputs from IANS)