Gurpreet Singh: City of Burnaby proclaims Gauri Lankesh Day to commemorate journalist murdered in South India

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      The City of Burnaby has declared September 5 as a day to honour a slain Indian journalist.

      Gauri Lankesh was a daring editor who was allegedly murdered by right-wing extremists in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru on this ill-fated date in 2017.

      She consistently wrote against superstition and growing fanaticism under the current Hindu nationalist BJP government in New Delhi. Attacks on religious minorities and political dissidents have spiked ever since the BJP came to power with a majority in 2014.

      Through her writings, Lankesh also challenged and questioned those in power and raised her voice against state violence.

      Her death was rejoiced by some of supporters of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

      On August 27, the City of Burnaby proclaimed Gauri Lankesh Day, which would be recognized on the fourth anniversary of her death.

      Mayor Mike Hurley issued the proclamation, which describes Lankesh as a “courageous Indian journalist who stood up for truth and justice” and “laid down her life…in her fight against repression and for human rights”.

      Read the City of Burnaby's proclamation declaring September 5 as Gauri Lankesh Day.

      Last year, the City of Burnaby proclaimed a day to honour towering human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra. He was killed by Indian police in 1995 after documenting the cases of those kidnapped and eliminated in an extra-judicial manner in the name of ending a Sikh militancy in Punjab.

      Khalra was abducted on September 6, 1995, from his home in Amritsar and later murdered.

      Burnaby councillor Sav Dhaliwal and former Burnaby school trustee Baljinder Kaur Narang have been instrumental behind these proclamations, which were requested by Radical Desi and members of the South Asian community in Metro Vancouver.

      From left to right: Coun. Sav Dhaliwal, journalist Gurpreet Singh, Mayor Mike Hurley, and renowned author and longtime Burnaby resident Sadhu Binning.