The BJP and RSS today came under a scathing attack from the civil society members, who strongly condemned the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh and flayed the "fascist forces" for creating a "cult of violence".
Almost all the speakers pointed fingers at the 'fascist forces', who they alleged, were trying to build a "Hindu Rashtra" and in the process had started silencing their critics.
The attack came at an impressive rally, marking the culmination of a procession from Majestic near Railway Station to the Central College grounds where the public meeting was arranged.
Holding placards and banners, hundreds of participants, mainly students, raised slogans 'I am Gauri, We are Gauri'.
Gauri, an anti-establishment voice with left leanings, was shot dead at her residence by unidentified assailants on September five, with investigators still searching for clues on the assailants, who pumped bullets into her.
The most vocal voice against the killing at the rally was Swami Agnivesh who targeted the prime minister.
"The general secretary of United Nations' Human rights council has condemned the killing of Gauri Lankesh. I wish Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have spoken a word on this. We used to call Dr Manmohan Singh a silent Prime Minister whenhe was in power but now I am sorry to say that the most talkative Modi has become silent," he said.
Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said an "unprecedented culture of hatred and violence" is being propagated in the country.
"We do not know who killed Gauri but we do know the people celebrating it. And the people who are celebrating it are doing it in a vulgar language," he said.
He claimed these people are followed by the prime ministeron Twitter.
He alleged that the culture of abuse, violence, threats and even murder was being propagated by the higher offices in the country.
Bhushan said he feared that those who believe in silencing critics were also destroying the democratic institutions in order to turn India into a Hindu nation.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the movement against thekilling of Gauri Lankesh stands against those forces who want to build a totalitarian state.
In her address, Narmada Bachao Andolan convenor Medha Patkar questioned the silence of the prime minister on the matter andaccused him of "destroying the unity, diversity and theconstitution."
Human rights activist Teesta Setalvad said no "majoritarian fascist force" can take away the pluralism and secularism deeply embedded in the society.
Besides prominent civil society members from outside the state, 99-year-old freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, film actorand Jnanpith Awardee Girish Karnad and several literary personalities from Karnataka took part in the event.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)