Urgent Interventions

Murder of prominent journalist Ms. Gauri Lankesh

IND004 / 0917 / OBS 098



September 12,2017

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDHand the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in India.

Brief description of theinformation:

TheObservatory has been informed by reliable sources about the murder of Ms. GauriLankesh, journalistand Editor of Lankesh Patrikenewspaper[1]. Ms.Lankesh was an outspoken defender of freedom of expression and was critical ofcommunal violence and violent rhetoric promoted by Hindu nationalists.

Accordingto the information received, on the evening of September 5, 2017, Ms. Lankeshwas fatally shot in front of her residence in Bangalore, Karnataka State, bythree unidentified gunmen as she was returning from work. There were severalbullet wounds to her head and chest.

A SpecialInvestigation Team headed by Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) B. K.Singh was subsequently formed to investigate the killing.

Ms.Lankesh had repeatedly been the target of online death threats, including fromHindu nationalists, and other acts of harassment because of her human rightswork.

Ms.Lankesh was also known for her criticisms of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). In November 2016, Ms. Lankesh was found guilty of defamation andsentenced to six months in jail along with a fine of RS 10,000 (approximately130 euros) in two cases brought against her by Lower House BJP MP Pralhad Joshiand BJP member Umesh Dushi. The case related to an article published in Lankesh Patrike in 2008 entitled“Darodege Illida BJP galu [BJP men involved in criminal activities]”, whichaccused three persons, including Umesh Dushi, of cheating a businessman in thecity of Hubli in Karnataka and also alleged the involvement of Pralhad Joshi inthe case.

The Observatory condemns in the strongestterms the murder of Ms. Lankesh and urges the Indian authorities to adopteffective measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in thecountry.

The Observatory also calls for an immediate,thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into Ms. Lankesh’s murderand for those responsible to be held to account.


Please write to the authorities in India, urging them to:

i. Guarantee,in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all humanrights defenders in India;

ii. Carry out an immediate,thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into themurder of Ms. Gauri Lankesh in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before anindependent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by law;

iii.Put an endto any harassment against all human rights defenders in India, and ensure inall circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activitieswithout any hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iv.Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, inparticular with Articles 1 and 12.2;

v.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by India.


· Mr. Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India, Fax: +91 11 2301 6857. E-mail: /

· Mr. Raj Nath Singh, Union Minister of Home Affairs of India, Fax:+91 11 2309 2979. Email:

· Mr. Rajiv Gauba,Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, Email:

· Justice Dipak Misra, ChiefJustice of India, Supreme Court, of India, Fax: +91 11 233 83792, Email:

· Justice Shri H.L. Dattu,Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India, Fax +91 11 24651329. Email:

· Mr. Srinivasa Kammath,Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Commission ofIndia, Email:

· H.E. Mr. Rajiv Kumar Chander, Ambassador,Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax:+41 22 906 86 96, Email:

· H.E. Mr. Manjeev Singh Puri, Embassy of India to the EuropeanUnion, Belgium and Luxembourg in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 6489638 / +32 26451869

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassyof India located in your country.


Paris-Geneva,September 12, 2017

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and theWorld Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme isto prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders.FIDH and OMCT are both members of, theEuropean Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by internationalcivil society.

To contact theObservatory, call the emergency line:

Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 /+33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 4122 809 49 29

[1] The Lankesh Patrike is an Indian independent weekly newspaper foundedby P. Lankesh, Ms. Gauri Lankesh’s father. The newspaper aims to be a platformfor the oppressed, Dalits, women and marginalised sections of Indian society.

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