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Gauri Lankesh murder: What we know so far

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-09-2017 Livemint

New Delhi: Gauri Lankesh, the 55-year-old Kannada journalist and critic of Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at the entrance of her residence in Raj Rajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru on Tuesday. She edited Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike. Her murder has drawn widespread condemnation, including from the US and amnesty International. 

Here is what we know so far about her murder:

■ Lankesh was shot dead at close range by at her home in Raj Rajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru. The posh locality is part of southern Bengaluru.

■ Lankesh, a writer, publisher and editor, had returned home in her car and was opening the gate when she was shot, with two bullets hitting her in the chest and one on her forehead, police officials said.

■ The Karnataka government on Wednesday decided to form a Special Investigation Team to probe her killing.

■ Chief Minister K. Siddaramaiah announced the SIT probe will be headed by an Inspector General level officer. The CM also said that his government was not opposed to a CBI probe, a demand made by the slain journalist’s family.

■ Siddaramaiah also said there were four CCTV cameras installed at Gauri’s house, and one of them had caught the image of a person wearing a helmet entering the gate and firing at her after which she collapsed two to three feet away. Bengaluru city police said the assailant escaped with his associates, who were waiting outside the house on a bike, reported The Hindu.

■ The Karnataka CM said two persons have been detained in Chikkamangalur for some comments on social media regarding the incident, and the investigation is on.

■ The Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Karnataka government on the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. The move came after home minister Rajnath Singh directed home secretary Rajiv Gauba to get a report from the state government, the home ministry official told PTI.

■ Gauri’s murder comes close to the second anniversary of the killing of noted Kannada writer and rationalist M. M. Kalburgi (77), who was shot dead by two unidentified men at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka, considered the state’s cultural capital, on 30 August 2015.

On the Kalburgi case, Siddaramaiah conceded that there has been a delay, but said investigation was on track.

■ Protests erupted across Bengaluru on Wednesday condemning the cold blooded murder of Gauri Lankesh. Journalists took out a march from the Press Club to the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, and submitted a memorandum to Siddaramaiah, seeking immediate action to bring the culprits to book.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah paying his last respects to the slain journalist Gauri Lankesh at Town hall in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Photo: Hindustan Times

■ The Press Council of India also expressed “concern” over the murder of Gauri Lankesh and asked Karnataka government for a detailed report on the incident.

■ The CPI(M) has condemned Lankesh’s killing, which it alleged, fits into the “familiar pattern” of eliminating voices that dare to speak against “climate of intolerance” created by the RSS and BJP.

The Left party also demanded that the Karnataka government identify and arrest the culprits behind the murder. The party said it was one in the series of murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi and claimed the four killings are “interconnected”.

■ The US today condemned the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, whose gunning down by unidentified assailants in Bengaluru has sparked an outrage.

“The US Mission in India joins advocates of press freedom in India and worldwide in condemning the murder of respected journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. We offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lankesh,” the US Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement here.

■ The killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru “raises alarm” about the state of freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International India said. “Her assassination must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. The police must investigate whether she was killed because of her journalism,” Asmita Basu, programmes director at Amnesty International India, said.

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