Curbing dissent

Gauri Lankesh murder: Left parties demand ban on outfits like the Sanatan Sanstha

The CPI(M) said the journalist’s murder fit into a pattern of ending those who speak up against the BJP and RSS, referring to Pansare and Dabholkar’s killings.

The Communist Party of India on Wednesday demanded a ban on outfits such as the Sanatan Sanstha, which is suspected to be behind the murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and senior CPI (Marxist) leader Govind Pansare. The CPI(M) said senior journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder fit into a pattern of ending those who dare to raise their voice against “the climate of hate and intolerance” spread by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party, The Indian Express reported.

“The killings of Pansare, Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi and now Gauri Lankesh are all interconnected,” CPI said. “All of them were vociferous in their opposition to superstition, obscurantism and perpetuation of communal agenda by right-wing Hindutva forces.”

“Members of right-wing Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha were arrested, but are now on bail,” CPI General Secretary Sudhakar Reddy said. “It is not accidental that all [these] murders are meticulously planned and organised the same way. It is time such terrorist organisations are banned.”

The teams investigating Pansare and Dabholkar’s assassination had both charged members of the Sanatan Sanstha with murder. However, official spokesperson of the group Chetan Rajhans on Wednesday refuted allegations of any involvement with Lankesh’s murder.

“The conversation around Gauri Lankesh’s murder is happening in a targeted and prejudiced manner,” he told CNN-News18, claiming that she was an “extortionist with Naxalite links” and had a dispute with her brother Indrajit Lankesh, as well. “We were targeted for eight years, but did they find anything against us? These investigating agencies also found that a small outfit like us cannot do anything illegal.”

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