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Gauri Lankesh named for Anna Politkovskaya Award

IANS | Bengaluru |


Slain journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh will be posthumously awarded the Annual Anna Politkovskaya Award, an award for women human rights defenders from war and conflict zones, for her fearless journalism, it was announced on Thursday.

The award has been conferred by international human rights organisation Reach All Women in WAR (RAW in WAR) to Lankesh a month after she was shot dead outside her residence here on September 5.

“Today (Thursday), RAW in WAR honours Gauri Lankesh and her fearless journalism as a strong critic of rightwing Hindu extremism, campaigner for women’s rights, fiercely opposed to the caste system and campaigner for the rights of Dalits,” the organisation said in a statement.

“The award will be given jointly to Lankesh, posthumously, and Pakistani activist Gulalai Ismail, who similarly to Gauri, is fighting against the Islamic extremism in her country, Pakistan,” it said.

Lankesh, the editor of Kannada tabloid “Gauri Lankesh Patrike” is the first Indian to win the award.

Lankesh’s family addressed reporters after the award announcement.

“Gauri, as a journalist, we lost because of her activism. We are pained by that. At the same time, we feel very proud of her as a family that she has won this international award,” her brother Indrajit Lankesh told reporters.

“The only question we as Lankesh family have, is not just about who her killers were, but we want to know why she was killed.

“Lot of questions will be answered (by knowing the motive), whether it is MM Kalburgi’s, Narendra Dhabolkar’s or Govind Pansare’s murders through Gauri’s murderers,” he added.

“We request the government and the Special Investigation Team to catch the killers as soon as possible and find the answers to why Gauri was killed,” he said.A

The award is named after Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist, writer and human rights activist, who was shot dead on October 7, 2006 in Moscow.

The assassination of Politkovskaya, whose work was considered critical of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, gained international attention.

Russian human rights activist Natalia Estemirova, Afghan activist and writer Malalai Joya, Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai were some of the previous winners of the Anna Politkovskaya Award.

This year’s awards will be presented to the winners in March 2018 at the Women of the World Festival in London, the organisation said.