The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh shows India descending into violence | Mari Marcel Thekaekara

The murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh shows India descending into violence | Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Hindu extremists go unpunished, leading to a culture in which lynching, mob violence and hate crimes are increasingly, horrifyingly, widespread

Once quiet, civilised Bangalore is shaken to the core by the news of the shocking murder of its most famous journalist, Gauri Lankesh. In big cities and small towns across India thousands of people are protesting at the murder of a gutsy woman who fought for the marginalised, who called Dalit victims her sons, and who protested against injustice and venal politics in the face of death threats.

When you know someone, their death hits you harder. Lankesh was the recipient of endless hate mail from Hindu extremists. She was vilified on two fronts. She dared to take on the powerful Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), currently ruling most of India. She criticised them and their cohorts for attacking minorities and creating a culture that enabled lynching, mob violence and hate crimes. She also defended Dalit rights, provoking the ire of many dominant-caste Indians across the political spectrum.

Related: Indian journalist critical of Hindu extremists is shot dead in Bangalore

Never has India witnessed the flood of hatred and vitriol currently being so openly spewed

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