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Gauri Lankesh murder case as it happened: Journo was stalked; killing a professional's job, say police sources

Senior Kannada journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, known for her left-leaning outlook and forthright views against Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at her residence here today, police said.

FP Staff September 06, 2017 20:00:43 IST
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Gauri Lankesh murder case as it happened: Journo was stalked; killing a professional's job, say police sources

Highlights

17:37 (ist)

What did Gauri Lankesh write that earned her Right-wing's ire?

A firebrand journalist and a fearless writer, Gauri Lankesh's views on Right-wing politics are well documented. Be it her scathing criticism of pro-BJP activists threatening Left-wing rationalists, or her views on Centre's move to deport Rohingya Muslims, or her inhibitions on freedom of press, Lankesh managed to remain on the wrong side of the Right. 

13:57 (ist)

Modi bhakts and the Hindutva brigade want me in jail: Gauri had said in 2016

In an interview with News Laundry after Gauri was released on bail in 2006, the 55-year-old journalist said that her criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system makes her critics brand her as a "Hindu hater."

"Unfortunately, today anybody talking in support of human rights and against fake encounters is branded a Maoist supporter. Along with that, my criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system, which is part and parcel of what is considered ‘Hindu dharma’, makes my critics brand me as a ‘Hindu hater’. But I consider it my constitutional duty to continue - in my own little way - the struggle of Basavanna and Dr Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society."

13:31 (ist)

Gauri's publication never took ads from govt or corporations

Gauri Lankesh Patrike, known for its anti-establishment stance never took any advertisements from either the government or corporations. Reports have said that the magazine is run by 50 employees and over two dozen regular columnists and contributors. GLP is financially supported by Lankesh’s other publication firms -- Lankesh Prakashana that publishes literature and Guide Prakashana, which concentrates on providing study material for competitive exams.

13:05 (ist)

'Gauri faced isolation among activists due to her distinct way of thinking'

Noted writer and scholar based in Karnataka's Dharwad, Ganesh Devy, in an obit on Gauri in The Wirewrote: 

"Even when she had to face imprisonment for her views, face isolation among activists due to her distinct way of thinking, face intimidation due to controversies arising out of her actions, she remained committed to her cause. And what was that cause? That of every self-respecting media person in the world – of placing reality as it is in public view."

11:20 (ist)

Smriti Irani tweets out condolences

Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday condemned the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru and hoped that there would be a speedy investigation and justice delivered.

"Condemn killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. Hope speedy investigation is conducted and justice delivered. Condolences to the family," the minister said on Twitter.

11:07 (ist)

If Gauri recieved any threats, it will be investigated: Bengaluru police

Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar said that Gauri Lankesh did not complain of any threats, adding that if there was any, then that will be thoroughly investigated. "She didn't complain of anything. If she anywhere expressed about threats, it will be thoroughly investigated," Kumar said.

11:03 (ist)

On becoming editor of Lankesh Patrike, Gauri had said she'd ensure she earns the editorship

In a rare interview to rediff in 2000, Gauri had said that her 'personal confusions" were finally resolved and she was ready to concentrate on her career. Not much is known about her personal life, however, reports have claimed that around 2000 was when she divorced her husband. This was also when her father told her to come and run his publication Lankesh Patrike.

"Last year I decided that I finally had no problems about being alone, had resolved all my personal confusions, and was ready to concentrate on my career. At the time my father took this decision for me, and I had to come back, my career was really taking off. As for this editorship, I don't think at all that I have earned it. I am just doing my best to make sure that I do earn it now!"

10:54 (ist)

Gauri was the glue who held everyone together: A close friend remembers the forthright journalist

Radhika Mahalingaiah writes: 

I knew Gauri, her sister Kavitha and their mother Indira since we were children. Whenever I visited my uncle’s house in the then Journalist Colony in Bengaluru, we would meet. I remember her as a sweet shy child running around and playing with my little cousins, while I — older by five years — watched the antics of the little ones. She was a very pretty child,  who never stood any nonsense from anyone.


We grew up in our own little worlds of school and college work, occasionally meeting at the homes of relatives. While I joined Bangalore University for postgraduate studies in Mass Communications, Gauri joined IIMC in Delhi.


Our lives reconnected again as full-fledged journalists working for different organisations in the early 1980s. Here was a grownup Gauri, enthusiastic about everything and ready to face the challenges of real journalism. We instantly connected. She and a few other journalist friends would land up at my little one-room 'house' almost every night after work. I still remember the conversations, fights, and discussions we had on just about anything that was making news all the way into the wee hours of the night.

10:47 (ist)

Excerpt from her interview with Rediff in 2000

Rediff: Well, people may not badmouth you, but your being a woman may not dissuade them from attacking you physically, as they have tried to attack your father from time to time. They will know you are particularly vulnerable as you are single and living alone.

Gauri Lankesh: I am not afraid of physical attacks at all. I used to come home at 3 am alone many nights until a fortnight ago. I only stopped when I saw a man wrapped in a saree lying in the middle of the road on one such occasion. Now I keep my driver with me until I reach home. Apart from that, I have not even got any blank calls. I have received a couple of calls trying to blackmail me about my personal life in taluk level `blackmail' newspapers. Those too stopped when I said, go ahead, write whatever you want about me. I have done nothing wrong to fear exposure.

10:41 (ist)

I would be the first person to admit that my career was stagnating like nobody's business: Gauri said in 2000

In an interview with rediff.com in 2000, soon after her father P Lankesh's demise, Gauri Lankesh spoke extensively on 'Lankesh Patrike', her dissenting views and how unafraid she is despite being a "woman".

Critics of Gauri had said that her taking over her dad's publication was a lucky break she desperately needed. When asked whether it was true, Gauri said, "I would be the first person to admit that my career was stagnating like nobody's business. Perhaps it was because I did not want to take risks. Maybe it was because my personal life has not exactly been terrific. I was concentrating more on finding personal happiness than on chasing a career. Today, I am happy with myself, and don't mind whatever price I have had to pay for it."

10:19 (ist)

Narendra Dabholkar — forefront of a campaign to persuade the Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill

Activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was at the forefront of a campaign to persuade the Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, was shot dead by unknown assailants in August 2013. He was found dead in a pool of blood at Omkareshwar bridge in Pune.

Dabholkar was also the editor of Sadhana magazine which was devoted to the propagation of progressive thought. According to a DNA report, the two attackers who killed Dabholkar fired four rounds at him from point-blank range and then fled on a motorcycle parked nearby.

10:11 (ist)

Gauri's murder is worryingly similar to Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi killings

Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy drew parallels between the deaths of Lankesh and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi, allegedly by fringe Hindu groups. Historian Ramachandra Guha too felt that Lankesh’s murder was “part of a pattern that links the deaths of Dabholkar, Kalburgi and (Govind) Pansare”.

This link was further bolstered by a senior police official who said that the modus operandi in the Gauri Lankesh murder seems very close to what had been witnessed earlier. "Bullets were fired on chest and heads, and the three assailants came on a bike. It's very similar to what was witnessed in the murder of Pansare, Dabholkar, and Kalburgi," the police official said.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Sept 06, 2017 - 21:52 (IST)

Watch: Protests by CPI workers and journalists in Lucknow

Sept 06, 2017 - 20:02 (IST)

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee attends candle march against Lankesh's killing

Sept 06, 2017 - 19:58 (IST)

Political parties condemn killing of Gauri Lankesh

Political parties of all hues today came out strongly against the killing of outspoken journalist Gauri Lankesh, with the Congress calling it a chilling reminder of rising intolerance and bigotry and the BJP demanding a swift probe to punish the guilty. A number of chief ministers as well as Union ministers also expressed outrage at the killing of the 55-year-old senior journalist, known for her strong views against right-wing forces.

Condemning the attack, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the party stood with rationalists, thinkers, journalists and the media fraternity. 

 
The CPM also expressed shock over the killing, alleging that it fit into the "familiar pattern of eliminating voices that dare to speak against the climate of intolerance by the RSS and BJP".
 
The chief ministers of Punjab, West Bengal and several other states also condemned the killing.

Sept 06, 2017 - 19:23 (IST)

Watch: Teesta Setalvad condemned political violence by Right-wing groups

Sept 06, 2017 - 19:11 (IST)

Watch: Nandita Das says Saadat Hassan Manto wouldn't have survived in today's scenario

Sept 06, 2017 - 19:02 (IST)

Gauri Lankesh's murder adds to the long list of slain journalists: Is India unsafe for scribes?

Even as many are comparing the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on Tuesday with the killing of Kannada writer, scholar and rationalist MM Kalburgi two years ago, her death throws sharply into focus, yet again, the ever increasing perils of being a journalist in India.

Five Indian journalists were murdered in 2016, but it doesn't seem as though anyone is listening.

Read the full article here

Sept 06, 2017 - 18:46 (IST)

Political parties should come together and condemn this heinous act: Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi, along with several other prominent faces came out in protest agains the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh. She said that she would appeal to all political parties to stop trying to earn browny points against each other. She said they should rather come together in condemning the incident. 

Sept 06, 2017 - 18:43 (IST)

Trolls spewing hate on Gauri Lankesh should be probed for links with BJP/RSS: Teesta Setalvad

Sept 06, 2017 - 18:34 (IST)

Protest meet at Bandra in Mumbai

Sept 06, 2017 - 18:28 (IST)

Prominent journalists gather in Delhi to condemn Lankesh's killing

Senior Kannada journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, known for her left-leaning outlook and forthright views against Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday, 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, and was known for her forthright views against hardline Hindutva politics.

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.

Gauri Lankesh murder case as it happened Journo was stalked killing a professionals job say police sources

A file image of Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh. PTI

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." "I do not know how to react. The assailants should be brought to the book. The case should be handed over to CBI," Gauri's brother Indrajit Lankesh said.

In a statement, RSS state unit expressed deep sorrow over the "heinous" murder of Gauri. "RSS appeals to the state government to act soon on the criminals responsible and bring them to the book," it said.

Veteran BJP Leader K S Eshwarappa rapped the Siddaramaiah government for "failing" to protect the lives of people, including those of noted writers like Kalburgi and Gauri. Gauri was last year convicted in a defamation case filed by BJP MP Prahlad Joshi over a report published in her tabloid against some saffron party leaders.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore took to Twitter to denounce the incident. "Terrible news from Bengaluru about the heinous murder of Gauri Lankesh. I condemn all acts of violence against journalists," he said.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said "truth cannot be silenced" and demanded that the culprits be tracked down and punished. "The truth will never be silenced. Gauri Lankesh lives on in our hearts. My condolences &love to her family. The culprits have to be punished," his office said in a twitter post.

BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said, "The murder of #GauriLankesh is condemnable outright. Onus is on Sh.Siddaramaiah to ensure proper investigation."

"If it is BJP ruled state, Liberals would have cried for emergency, Intolerance, Fascism," tweeted National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan tweeted: "Shocking & tragic! Brave journalist Gauri Lankesh who exposed the BJP has been shot dead in her home in Bangalore!"

Gauri was a journalist-activist, known for her anti-establishment, pro-poor and pro-Dalit stand.

Among very few woman editors in Kannada journalism, she was a fierce activist, who openly expressed her pro-Naxal and Leftist views.

Born in 1962, Gauri was the daughter of legendary Kannada journalist and founding editor of Kannada weekly tabloid 'Lankesh Patrike'.

Her siblings -- Kavitha and Indrajit Lankesh -- are film and theatre personalities.

With inputs from agencies

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