We at PEN Delhi are deeply saddened and outraged at the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, a fearless exponent of freedom of speech and a defender of the right to dissent. Gauri spoke out against all forms of fundamentalisms and censoring and, in her writings, was outspoken against and critical of casteism and communalism.

Gauri’s murder comes at a time when writers and thinkers are increasingly under attack in India and several have been similarly targeted and killed. Gauri too had received all kinds of threats for her writing and the stances she took, including having to face (and being convicted of) defamation charges for an article she published in her journal Gauri Lankesh Patrike.

We are deeply concerned at the ways in which the right to free speech is increasingly coming under threat in India, and at how violence is being used with impunity, and no accountability, to silence voices of dissent. We call for an immediate and proper investigation into this murder and demand that the authorities act with all speed and arrest the killers.

We resolve to continue to defend the freedom of speech and expression that was so dear to Gauri. This is our tribute to her courage and commitment.
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