Editor, social activist and a virulent critic of right-wing groups, Gauri Lankesh, was shot dead Tuesday night outside her residence in tony Raja Rajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru by three unidentified bike-borne assailants, setting off a public outcry, with her gangland style murder drawing comparisons to the murders of writers and thinkers Dr M. M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, who were all gunned down in similar fashion.
Ms Lankesh, in her early 50s, was editor of the edgy Kannada tabloid “Gauri Lankesh Patrike”.
She was gunned down in her own home just as she returned from office at around 7.45 pm on Tuesday evening. She had parked her car, and was about to enter her home, where she lived alone when two of the three men fired at her at point-blank range with a small pistol or revolver, police said.
She suffered bullet injuries to her head and her chest, and died instantly.
Neighbours from an apartment complex next door, who came running up at the sound of gunshots found her lying in a pool of blood on her patio. Police, who arrived shortly thereafter said there were four empty cartridges by her body, leading them to suspect that four rounds of were fired at her.
A post-mortem will be conducted on her body which was moved to Victoria Hopspital. Without CCTV cameras, police will have their work cut out to track the killers, although 3 teams, one headed by the DCP Crime, and two more have thrown a security ring around her home, and the city and are checking all bikers.
Gauri was tailed last week but did not seek security
It is learnt that journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead in front of her house on Tuesday evening, had noticed two suspicious men following her on a bike in Gandhi Bazaar a week ago.
The two men had reportedly followed from her office till her home last week. Gauri had told her mother Indira about it. But she did not alert the police or seek protection. Gauri lived alone in the house, while her mother lived with the younger daughter Kavita Lankesh, a film director.
The vacant sites next to Gauri’s house have bushy growth and anyone could have easily hidden behind them. The assailants might have also taken advantage of this, the police suspected.
Activists stage protests
Following Gauri Lankesh’s murder, many progressive organisations held protests across the state against the BJP and RSS. Around 60 persons staged a protest near her house while another group of activists held protests at Corporation Circle late in the night. Protests were held even in Dharwad and other districts. The agitators shouted slogans against BJP & RSS, blaming them for the incident. They also demanded immediate arrest of the assailants.