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 on Tuesday. Lankesh was known for her anti-establishment, pro-poor and pro-Dalit stand.
Lankesh's death was met with outrage and grief across the country as politicians and journalists condemned the attack on her.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah termed her death shocking. He said that Lankesh had been instrumental in bringing Naxals 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.
On Wednesday, Siddaramaiah said, "We will find her killers. The police has set up roadblocks at various places. Checkpoints around Bengaluru are being monitored. We have some intel (on this case)... There are four lines of inquiry being pursued by the police."
"We'll set up an SIT headed by an IG-level officer. The investigating officer will be an SP," said the chief minister.
Talking about how the crime took place, Siddaramaiah said, "Someone jumped over the compound wall and shot her at close range... She (Lankesh) walked a few steps and collapsed."
Information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday condemned the killing and hoped that there would be a speedy investigation and justice delivered.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi offered his condolences to the family.
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
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) September 5, 2017
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.
Lankesh's fellow journalists too expressed their sorrow at her death.
Numbed by news of Gauri Lankesh's murder. She was gutsy, level-headed, defiant—everything we need in a journalist in these troubled times. — Siddharth (@svaradarajan) September 5, 2017
As a friend, colleague & admirer for decades shocked & shattered to hear of the murder of Gauri Lankesh,one of India's gutsiest journalists — vir sanghvi (@virsanghvi) September 5, 2017
Activists also observed the link between Lankesh's murder and those of other rationalists.
Pansare, Kalburgi and now Gauri Lankesh! Same pattern: shot by masked men Same motive: Silence voices of dissent? Same forces? https://t.co/CYrOMeuTgX — Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) September 5, 2017
The Indian Express quoted historian Ramachandra Guha as saying that Lankesh’s murder was “part of a pattern that links the deaths of (Narendra) Dabholkar, (MM) Kalburgi and (Govind) Pansare. The climate of hate and intolerance that has been promoted by this current (BJP) government, aided by television channels and freelance goondas, is complicit in this murder. It is chilling."
The report also reported Tamil writer Perumal Murugan — who was hounded into silence in 2015 by protests against his work — as saying, “One thought that this sort of sentiment had died down. This incident proves that the climate of hatred and intolerance seems to be alive.” Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore also condemned the killing.
Terrible news from Bengaluru about the heinous murder of Gauri Lankesh. I condemn all acts of violence against journalists. — Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) September 5, 2017
The case is reminiscent of the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi. Fingers have been raised on radical Hindu outfits in those cases.
Protests broke out in Delhi, Chennai and bfrom the protest at Townhall in Bengaluru.
In Mumbai, various media organisations led by the Mumbai Press Club and Bombay Union of Journalists on Wednesday condemned the killing and sought a speedy probe in the case. A candlelight vigil will be held at the press club on Wednesday evening. Apart from the Mumbai Press Club, TV Journalists Association, Photographers Association and Network of Women in Media will join the protests.
A protest has also been planned at amphitheatre on Carter Road in Bandra at 6pm on Wednesday.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 06, 2017 13:27:43 IST