MLA speaks at Surrey demonstration following murder of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh

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      Canadian activists of South Asian ancestry held a demonstration this week in Surrey following the murder of a high-profile Indian journalist.

      On September 5, Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore) in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

      She was reportedly getting out of her car at her home in the evening when unidentified men opened fire.

      Lankesh was a well-known critic of growing violence by Hindu fundamentalists since the election of a right wing government in 2014 led by Narenda Modi.

      She had reportedly been receiving threats from extremist groups.

      Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in the state of Karnataka.

      After she was killed, some supporters of Modi's Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party trashed her on social media.

      Speakers at the September 6 rally in Holland Park condemned the murder of Lankesh, with some carrying placards denouncing Hindutva terror on minorities.

      Organized by the Indians Abroad for Pluralist India, the only MLA present was the NDP's Rachna Singh (Surrey–Green Timbers). 

      Her husband, indpendent journalist and Georgia Straight contributor Gurpreet Singh, was there as a founding member of IAPI.

      Others present included journalist and broadcaster Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, Dashmesh Darbar Gurdwara spokesman Gian Singh Gill, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Society founder Ranjit Singh Khalsa, Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Sarabjit Singh, visiting Dravid activist from India Waman Meshram, Muslim activist Sayyad Wajahat, Dalit activist Kamlesh Ahir, secularist activist Sunil Kumar, Indian RationalIst Society Leader Avtar Gill, and two veteran leftist activists, Harjit Daudhria and Amarjit Sufi. 

      The event coincided with the 22nd anniversary of the murder of Punjabi human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, who investigated abused by Punjab police during the Sikh militancy of the 1980s and 1990s.

      He was abducted on September 6, 1995, from his Amritsar home. 

      Khalra's grandfather was an activist in the "Ghadar" movement that pressed for Indian independence when Britain ruled South Asia.

      The Ghadar party was founded in San Francisco in 1913 by Indian expats living in B.C. and the western United States. Some of them went back to India to continue the independence struggle there.

      There is a parallel between the anti-Modi activists today and the Ghadar members a century earlier: both are organizing and raising awareness from North America about tyranny taking place in their home country.

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