Gauri Lankesh shot dead

‘The journalist-activist was slain by three armed assailants outside her home’

Nationally renowned journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, editor and owner of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead at her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bengaluru West, on Tuesday at around 8 p.m. City Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar confirmed to The Hindu that the 55-year-old was shot dead, but did not divulge further details.

Sources in the police said three armed assailants were waiting outside her house. She got out of her car outside the gate of her house to open it when three rounds were fired at her. A profusely bleeding Ms. Lankesh, who had been hit on her chest and forehead collapsed at the entrance to the house, the police said. She lived alone.

“There has been a shoot-out at the residence of Gauri Lankesh this evening. She is no more. Her body has been found on the veranda of her house, in Ideal Homes, in R.R. Nagar police station limits,” said M.N. Anucheth, DCP (West).

Known for her fierce writing and stand on issues, she has worked closely with several noted personalities, including Dalit rights activists from Gujarat Jignesh Mewani and JNU students union activist Kanhaiya Kumar amongst others, who she would lovingly refer to as her “adopted sons”.

The city police, who are investigating the case said they had not received any reports of threats to her and could not speculate who was behind the attack at this stage. Some of those who gathered outside her residence after hearing the news started shouted slogans condemning “communalism”. However, it’s not clear who may have been behind the attack.

Reactions pour in

Reactions poured in from various quarters across the country. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah condemned the attack.

A shocked K.L. Ashok, State general secretary of the Komu Souharda Vedike, the communal harmony forum of which Ms. Lankesh is the president, said it was the “murder of democracy, secularism and freedom of speech”. “She was a committed writer. I spoke to her only five days ago about something to do with our office,” he said, adding that she had also written against the ‘Mangaluru Chalo’ rally.

Freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, who worked closely with Ms. Lankesh to bring naxals into the mainstream, said, “I have lost a daughter today. Despite ideological differences between us, she was a great human being. As an editor, she never compromised and I suspect she fell prey to Hindu fundamentalists, whom she fought valiantly even outside the scope of journalism.”

“I don’t have words to explain the anxiety and anguish at the tragedy. We have to put all our energies and resources to understand this tragedy in its proper perspective at the national and social context. We need to rethink our strategies to fight the communal forces that have engulfed Indian society and safeguard our constitutional principles,” said senior Kannada writer Chandrsekhar Patil.

— source


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