Three UN Special Rapporteurs have urged the Government of India to act decisively after the killing of Indian journalist and human rights defender Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead on 5 September outside her home in Bangalore.
“The Indian authorities should unequivocally condemn the killing of Gauri Lankesh, investigate it, bring all the perpetrators – including the masterminds – to account, and take seriously the safety of journalists,” said the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, on summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, and on the situation of human rights defender, Michel Forst.
“The murder of Gauri Lankesh is a terrible and painful tragedy for all who knew and loved her and her work, and is a vicious attack on the freedom of the press in India, which we unequivocally condemn,” the experts continued in a joint statement.
“We urge the authorities in India to take active steps to reverse a political climate that in recent years have become increasingly polarized and hostile, especially to the media and those exercising the freedom of expression. Governments have a responsibility to build a safe environment for independent voices, including those of journalists critical of the authorities.”
Ms. Lankesh had written critically about religious fundamentalism, the governing party and right-wing politics, as well as the caste system.