Senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru late on September 5. Bengaluru Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar confirmed to The Hindu that she was shot dead.
Police sources said Ms. Lankesh collapsed after she was shot at by three assailants as she was entering her house at around 8 p.m.
According to M.N. Anucheth, DCP (West) her body was found on the verandah of her house in R.R. Nagar police station limits. Police have cordoned the area.
A neighbour who heard the gunshots said that there were multiple firings. Another resident of the area, who did not wish to be named, said that she was shot at as she got down from her car and opened the gate, adding that he immediately called the ambulance.
Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, quoting eyewitnesses, told The Hindu that there were four gunshots and that there were three shooters who came in a vehicle. Ms. Lankesh was "shot at close range" and she "died on the spot", he said, adding that all shots were to the front.
Mr. Reddy also added that Ms. Lankesh had called him last Saturday - before he was appointed the State's Home Minister, saying she wanted to meet him. He had asked her to meet him on Monday but she had not come.
Three police teams JT Com (Crime), ACP (Kengeri gate), ACP (Chikpete) are on the case. "Four empty cartridges were found. Residents say they heard the sound of a scooter. But no eye witnesses to the incident itself," Suneel Kumar, Commissioner said adding that there were no conclusive leads as of now. "We are looking at all angles," he said.
There are two CCTV cameras in the house, including at the porch itself but Police are yet to see CCTV footage.
Mr. Anucheth said the police had spoken to five neighbours who were present during the event but were not eyewitnesses.
"Great loss to the community of independent journalism"
Her death comes two years after leading progressive thinker and researcher M.M. Kalburgi was shot dead in his Dharwad home in 2015.
Ms. Lankesh has been known for her strident stands against communalism in Karnataka. In 2016, she was convicted in a defamation case filed by MP Prahlad Joshi, who had objected to a report against BJP leaders.
Reacting to the news Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief G. Parameshwara said Ms. Lankesh’s death was a great loss to the community of independent journalism. “Lost a dear friend, an accomplished journalist and a wonderful human being. Miscreants will be brought to book very soon,” he said.
Condemning the killing of Ms. Lankesh, Narendra Nayak, president of the Federation of Indian rationalist Associations, said, “The elimination of voices of reason by silencing them through murder was the hallmark of those cowardly dunces who have no arguments to counter those put forward by us.” She was one of those who was not afraid to speak her mind on any issue which she felt was important, he said.
“As a fellow member on the hit list of these organisations, I feel sad that I have lost a good friend and a supporter... I knew her since three decades right from the days she was a reporter for Sunday. More than a journalist she was a social activist raising her voice for the oppressed and exploited of the society, he said. “It is a shame tor all the citizens of our country that we have tolerated such a sorry state of affairs here that even voices cannot be raised against the forces of irrationalism and communalism. Let those forces clearly understand that such acts by them are not going to silence us. They are only going to become stronger.”
The Indian Women Press Corps condemned the killing and said, “The silencing of a journalist in this manner has dangerous portents for Indian democracy."