Senior Indian Journalist Gauri Lankesh Shot Dead

Bengaluru: Senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, an outspoken critic of Hindutva politics, was shot dead here today, police said.

Lankesh was shot dead from a close range at her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar (in the suburbs) around 8 p.m.," Bengaluru Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar told reporters here.

According to initial reports, three unidentified assailants fired three to five bullets at Lankesh, with one hitting her in the forehead and another in the chest, and fled as she collapsed on the spot.

Lankesh, in her 50s, edited a Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike besides owning some other publications.

Karnataka's new Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, who rushed to the spot with the city Police Commissioner, told reporters that the assailants probably fired seven rounds.

"Within minutes, seven rounds were fired at close range. She was attacked outside her residence. As she had not sought police protection, no security was provided to her," Reddy said.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah condemned the crime. "Absolutely shocked to learn about the murder of renowned journalist Gauri Lankesh. I have no words to condemn this heinous crime," he tweeted.

"Gauri was an advocate of secularism. She fought against injustice," he told the media here.

A prominent thinker and a staunch critic of Hindutva politics, Lankesh was convicted in a defamation case filed by BJP MP Prahlad Joshi over a report published in her tabloid against some saffron party leaders.

Several people in media and public life took to twitter to express shock at Lankeshs killing.

"As a friend, colleague & admirer for decades shocked & shattered to hear of the murder of Gauri Lankesh, one of Indias gutsiest journalists," said Vir Sanghvi, an eminent media personality.

Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan tweeted: "Shocking & tragic! Brave journalist Gauri Lankesh who exposed the BJP has been shot dead in her home in Bangalore!"

The manner in which Lankesh was shot dead was reminiscent of the way Kannada progressive thinker and researcher M.M. Kalburgi was shot dead in August 2015 at his residence in Dharwad in the state's northwest region, about 400km from Bengaluru.

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