BANGALURU/ NEW DELHI : The Karnataka government has formed a Special Investigation Team to probe the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The BJP has demanded a CBI probe, saying the Congress-led state government may not be able to “handle” the investigation.
There are four CCTV cameras at Gauri Lankesh’s house. One at the parking area, one near the door and one at basement and backyard. Police have taken footages from the front ones. A special investigation team (SIT) is formed, headed by IG level officer. The team will look exclusively into the Gauri Lankesh murder case.
We are not giving the Gauri Lankesh murder case to CID as of now. The Kalburgi case is with CID now. Ms Lankesh, whose father P Lankesh was one of Karnataka’s best known journalists lived alone.
“Ms Lankesh ran a weekly Kannada paper in which she often wrote in support of the rehabilitation of Naxals and against divisive politics. Frequently, she contested right-wing ideology.
Gauri Lankesh, 55, had returned home in her car and was opening the gate when motorcycle-borne assailants fired at her indiscriminately, with two bullets hitting her in the chest and one on her forehead, police officials said. “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. She died instantaneously.
Bengaluru spoke in outrage today over the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist and activist who was killed last night at her home. Across the country, editors and others condemned the murder and expressed concern over what they described as a growing intolerance to dissent.
The Congress, meanwhile, has blamed the RSS ideology, accusing it of trying to crush the voice of “dissent”.
The police have reportedly spotted one of three killers on CCTVs that were installed at Ms Lankesh’s house in the western part of the IT hub. The suspect is seen wearing a helmet, said police sources, adding that three teams have been formed to identify and track down the killers, who were likely paid assassins. Police have secured the CCTV footage from Lankesh’s residence which now holds the key to the killers’ identity.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the Home Secretary to speak to Karnataka Government and seek a report on the Gauri Lankesh murderWe don’t Whether similar weapon which was used in Kalburgim Pansare and Dabholkar were used to kill Gauri Lankesh…It is true that it is an organised crime, let the Police look into it…We cannot say if it was a part of the conspiracy: says Siddaramaiah.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the Home Secretary to speak to Karnataka Government and seek a report on the Gauri Lankesh murder.Students of Bangalore University boycott clasees in protest against Gauri Lankesh murder.
Meanwhile, Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, has expressed shock & distress at the heinous and cowardly murder of well-known editor and activist, Gauri Lankesh. The series of killings of rationalists, free thinkers, and journalists in the country has created an atmosphere that dissent, ideological differences, and divergence of views can endanger our lives.
Congress President has spoken to the Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah and urged him to swiftly bring the culprits to the book. “Every possible measure should be taken to maintain a safe and secure atmosphere in the state”, she added.
Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy has drawn parallels between the murder of Gauri Lankesh and the killing of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi, allegedly by fringe Hindu groups. Dabholkar was shot dead in August 2013, while Kalburgi was gunned down in August 2015.
“Who is behind the incident, is it the Naxals or any other ideological fringe parties were behind the incident will be known only after investigation. It is very premature to hold anybody responsible for the incident,” Reddy said. The state government has asked the Bengaluru police to get in touch with their Maharashtra counterparts who are investigating the murder of Dabholkar.
Journalists from across the country as well as prominent residents of Bengaluru were worried that Ms Lankesh’s shooting at point-blank range was in retaliation to her anti-establishment voice, her criticism of those in power ignoring those on the margins.
“This shows dissent will not be tolerated,” said BT Venkatesh, a lawyer who represented Ms Lankesh in a defamation case brought against her a few years ago by a BJP parliamentarian. At a condolence meeting held in the heart of Bengaluru, some attendees carried posters saying, “Namma Gauri” (I Am Gauri). They denounced intolerance and any threat to free speech.
Journalists in different cities are organising meetings today and protest marches against her murder. “Gauri Lankesh’s murder drills a hole in the heart of the journalist community. Are we sliding into the heart of darkness?” said editor Nalini Singh. (with Agency Inputs)