Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today trained guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the killing of senior journalist-activist Gauri lankesh outside her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday night. Speaking to reporters today, Rahul said that anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP-RSS is “pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed”.
Targetting the Prime Minister directly over the murder, Rahul said Modi was a “skilled Hindutva politician” and that people questioning his silence should know that the entire idea is to crush dissent.
“PM is a skilled Hindutva politician. His words carry two different meanings, one for his base and the other for the rest of the world,” Rahul told reporters today, adding that anybody who speaks against the ideology of BJP-RSS is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed.
“Sometimes, under pressure, the Prime Minister makes some statements. But the entire idea is to crush dissent,” Rahul said, adding that “non-violence is the history of this nation... murder cannot be justified.”
"No one can suppress the truth. The RSS and BJP ideology is trying to suppress the truth but this cannot happen in India," he told reporters here.
Rahul’s comments drew sharp reactions from Union minister Nitin Gadkari who termed Rahul’s remarks against the PM as shameful. “It is shameful because PM is of the country, he does not belong to any party,” Gadkari told news agency ANI.
The minister also dismissed the allegations that the BJP had a role to play in the killing of Gauri Lankesh, a vociferous opponent of Hindutva politics.
“Baseless allegation…. we have nothing to with Gauri Lankesh murder. Onus to maintain law and order is on state government, that is Congress,” he added.
Earlier today, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also condemned the killing of Lankesh and said it was a chilling reminder that "intolerance and bigotry is raising its ugly head in our society". Sonia Gandhi described Lankesh as one with fearless and independent views, who had extraordinary grit and determination to take on the system.
"The series of killings of rationalists, free thinkers and journalists in the country has created an atmosphere that dissent, ideological differences and divergence of views can endanger our lives. This cannot be and should not be tolerated," Sonia Gandhi said in a statement.
"It is an extremely sad moment for our democracy and a chilling reminder of the fact that intolerance and bigotry is raising its ugly head in our society," she said. In condemning this debilitating attack, the Congress party stands as one with the rationalists, thinkers, journalists and the media fraternity, she said.
The cold-blooded murder of senior journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh has stirred a huge row across the country with activists and leaders cutting across party lines condemning the incident. Lankesh, 55, was shot dead by unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants outside her Bengaluru residence at around 8 pm Tuesday.
Police said Lankesh had returned to her residence from office and was heading towards the door to her residence after parking her car when the assailants fired at her.
The attackers fired at least seven rounds, of which three hit her in the head and chest while four struck the front wall of the house, police said. Lankesh, 55, editor of Kannada tabloid 'Gauri Lankesh Patrike', died instantly, police said.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today announced the setting up of a Special Investigation Team led by an IG-rank officer to probe Lankesh’s murder.