Yesterday,October 5, 2017, marked a month since senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home. Crowds gathered in Delhi at Mandi House to march to Jantar Mantar protesting the killing of free speech. The procession moved through the streets, drawing attention to their outrage that anyone who dared to speak against injustice, oppression and tyranny could be silenced. One month later, Lankesh’s killers are still at large.

Gauri Lankesh is not the only one to be silenced. Just after her death, journalist Shantanu Bhowmick was beaten to death in Agartala while covering violence between opposing political factions. Earlier in May, senior journalist Rajdev Ranjan was shot in the head and neck in Siwan, Bihar.

In 2015, journalist Jagendra Singh was set on fire during a police raid. He succumbed to his burns a few days later. In all of these incidents, there was public outcry, but no action was taken by the government. No killers have been found. According to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), there have been around 27 cases of journalists who were killed for their work since 1992. India ranks as one of the most unsafe places for journalists even as we pride ourself in being the world’s largest democracy.

News of her assassination sent shockwaves throughout the country. However while some grieved, others were poised to slander her. Whatsapp forwards and internet trolls inundated social media, explicitly cursing the journalist for raising her voice and justified the murder as ‘putting her in her place’. These trolls profess to be vocal supporters of the government, which has yet to comment on the celebrations of its devotees over Gauri Lankesh’s killing.

Gauri Lankesh has been posthumously awarded the Anna Politkovskyaya Award this year which was instituted in the memory of the slain Russian reporter. It takes guts to stand up and speak the truth when you know there are millions ready to attack you for what you say. But it did not stop her from exposing the truth. The government’s silence over the murder only gives validation to the crime. The press is dead.

Journalists are censored systematically, and even more desperate is when they censor themselves fearing for their safety. Lankesh’s death made us question ourselves as well, had we become too afraid to speak up? Would there always be someone to silence us? Why were some people being arrested for speaking their mind on social media, while others were getting away with threatening public figures? Was democracy dying? In the one month since her killing, many have raised their voices to protest, and journalists across India continue to receive death threats.

The silver lining on the horizon is that even in these bleak circumstances, the ordinary citizens are willing to fight for justice. They refuse to be blackmailed by fear and hate. The large crowds that marched yesterday are a testament to democracy. Courageous people from different organizations, of different ages and outlooks came together to demand justice not just for Gauri Lankesh, but for all of those who were silenced by fascist forces. Chants of ‘Nahi sahenge’ and ‘Hum sab Gauri’ boomed throughout the march, the roar of the people never dropping for even a minute.

Fascist forces may continue their malicious reign, but the people of India will hold them accountable in the end.

(The writers are with the Muslim Womens Forum)