Senior Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead
Senior Kannada journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, known for her left-leaning outlook was shot dead by unidentified assailants at her residence here today, police said.
Gauri, aged 55, had returned home in her car and was opening the gate when motorcycle-borne assailants fired at her indiscriminately with two bullets hitting her in the chest and one on her forehead, police officials said.
She died instantaneously.
Four bullets hit the compound wall of her building in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, the officials said.
Gauri edited Kannada tabloid ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ besides owning some other publications.
Bengaluru police commissioner T Sunil Kumar, along with senior police officers, rushed to the spot and officials said it was not immediately known who carried out the attack and the motive behind it.
Police suspected that she was under surveillance of the assailants who must have trailed her closely.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah termed her death shocking.
The chief minister said three police teams have been constituted to probe the killing. Instructions have been issued to crack the case and bring the culprits to book at the earliest, he said.
He said recently Gauri had been instrumental in bringing Naxalites into the mainstream and they had surrendered.
“It’s shocking news for me. No one who has faith in humanity will ever kill anyone. Gauri Lankesh was secular and helped government bring the Naxals back to the mainstream,” said Siddaramaiah.
He wondered why Gauri didn’t tell the government about the threat to her life though she had met him many times.
Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy drew parallels between the gunning down of Gauri and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi, allegedly by fringe Hindu groups. Dabholkar was shot dead in August 2013, while Kalburgi was gunned down in August 2015.
“Who is behind the incident, is it the Naxals or any other ideological fringe parties were behind the incident will be known only after investigation. It is very premature to hold anybody responsible for the incident,” Reddy said.
Siddaramaiah also said he has asked police to get in touch with their Maharashtra counterparts probing the murder of Dabholkar.
Police have cordoned off the area around her house.
Senior police officials, including Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) M N Anucheth, rushed to the spot to supervise investigation.
Karnataka police chief R K Dutta said Gauri had not voiced apprehension about any threat to her life during a couple of meetings he had with her.
Asked about who could be the possible suspects in the killing, the officer refused to hazard any guess, saying “let the investigation proceed first.”