Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist and activist in Bengaluru, was shot dead outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on Tuesday evening. Police said her body was found on the porch of her home in West Bengaluru.
Ms Lankesh had just reached home and was about to enter when unidentified men shot at the 55-year-old journalist from close range; three bullets hit her, one on the forehead, reported news agency IANS.
“A total of seven bullets were fired out of which four missed the target and hit the wall of the house. Three bullets had hit her — two in her chest area and one in the forehead,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar said, according to IANS.
Police have recovered four cartridges from the spot. Her body has been taken to the Victoria Hospital for a postmortem.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said three police teams have been formed to investigate the murder of Gauri Lankesh and that the culprits must be caught. “I have spoken to the police commissioner and the Director General of Police” said Mr Siddaramaiah this evening.
Gauri was the elder daughter of P Lankesh – a man who brought in a new brand of Kannada journalism. She followed in his footsteps, speaking her mind and running her own Kannada paper with views that were never careful or circumspect. She was part of a group that worked for communal harmony. Her views were considered Leftist and anti-Hindutva.
She ran the weekly ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike,’ a Kannada tabloid. Like her father, who was a noted Kannada writer, Gauri Lankesh faced opposition and criticism of her journalism. In November 2016, she had been found guilty of defamation in a case involving BJP MP Prahlad Joshi and had been sentenced to six months in jail. She was out on bail.
The shooting has caused outrage on Twitter. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted: “Shocked to hear that the brave Journalist-Activist Gauri Lankesh has been shot dead in Bengaluru. Culprits should be nabbed at the earliest.”
“Shocking and blood curdling to hear about the murder of Gauri Lankesh. These monstrous criminals must be nailed n dealt with sternly,” tweeted Biocon’s chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
Two years ago, in 2015, MM Kalburgi, renowned scholar and the 77-year-old former vice chancellor of Hampi University, was also shot dead on the doorstep of his Dharwad home in Karnataka. The police are yet to make any arrests in this case.
Ms Lankesh is survived by her mother, her sister Kavitha Lankesh, a filmmaker and her brother Indrajit who also makes films and runs Lankesh Patrike.