The body of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was laid to rest with state honours in Bengaluru just a day after she was killed by unidentified assailants. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, JD (S) MLA B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan, multi-lingual actor Prakash Raj, playwrights, theatre personalities, journalists and social activists were in attendance. Her cold-blooded murder unleashed outrage across the country even as the Karnataka government was quick to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the killing. Leaders cutting across party lines vehemently condemned the murder as media and members of civil society staged protests in Bengaluru, Delhi as well as several other cities. Amid all this, top leaders of the BJP and Congress were engaged in a bitter spat over the murder. Also Read: Who is Gauri Lankesh?
In an audacious attack, unidentified assailants pumped bullets into 55-year-old Gauri, known for her scathing views against Hindutva politics, as she left her car after reaching her home. Gauri Lankesh’s murder comes just days after the second anniversary of the killing of noted rationalist Dr M M Kalburgi (77), who succumbed to bullets fired by two unidentified men at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka on August 30, 2015.
Editors Guild of India says her killing is an ominous portent for dissent in democracy
The Editors Guild of India, in a statement, said that her killing is an ominous portent for dissent in democracy and a brutal assault on freedom of press.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah announced SIT probe into Gauri Lankesh murder
Soon after her murder, state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced an SIT probe headed by an Inspector General-level officer. The chief minister said his government had an “open mind” to an investigation by CBI. Gauri Lankesh’s family has demanded a CBI probe, following which the CM had to act. Siddaramaiah also said the murder was an “organised crime.”
While briefing reporters, moments after chairing a high-level meeting of senior police officials and Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, Siddaramaiah told the police that this case should be taken ‘very seriously’.
Investigators pin their hopes on CCTV footage for identity of killers
The chief minister said there were four CCTV cameras installed at Gauri’s house, and one of them had caught the image of a person wearing a helmet entering the gate and firing at her after which she collapsed two to three feet away.
Journalists gather at Press Club of India to demand justice for Gauri Lankesh
Several journalists gathered today at the Press Club of India in New Delhi and demanded justice amid calls for standing up to “forces” trying to “muzzle” the voices of dissent. Veteran journalist and author Paranjoy Guha Thakurta termed the killing as “a defining moment” in the history of Indian media. Subsequently, journalists took out a march from the Press Club in Bengaluru to the Vidhana Soudha. They have submitted a memorandum to CM Siddaramaiah seeking immediate action to bring the culprits to book.
Meanwhile, Prashant Bhushan said that Gauri Lankesh’s murder is very tragic because she was a very brave journalist and she stood against the fascism that is growing in the country. “This type of murder however encouraged by those in power,” said Bhushan.
Union Home Ministry seeks report from Karnataka government over Gauri Lankesh murder
The Union Home Ministry sought a report from the state government over the incident.
Siddaramaiah refuses to draw parallels between Gauri Lankesh and Kalburgi killings
CM Siddaramaiah was asked by reporters whether there was any similarity between the killings of Gauri and Kalburgi. He said that the investigation is in the preliminary stage, while admitting that it is an organised crime.
Sonia Gandhi says ‘series of killings’ of rationalists has created an atmosphere of fear
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said 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 vice-president Rahul Gandhi too echoed her views when he asserted that anybody who speaks against the ideology of BJP and RSS, is “pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed.”
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari slams Congress linking Gauri Lankesh killing to BJP
“Irresponsible, baseless and false,” said Gadkari, adding that levelling “untrue” allegations against the BJP is injustice to his party and detrimental to democracy. “The present government, the BJP or any of its organisations have no connection with the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh,” Gadkari told reporters.
BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao accuses Rahul Gandhi of seeking ‘political capital’
BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao slammed Rahul of trying to seek “political capital” out of the murder. Rao took a dig at the Congress vice-president and said: “Rahul Gandhi must realise that the track record of his party’s government in Karnataka on law and order is as dismal and pathetic as his political record. He will do well to concentrate on these shortcomings rather than making frivolous comments.”
City-based NGO ANHAD termed Gauri Lankesh’s killing as a ‘severe shock’
City-based NGO ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) termed the murder as a “severe shock” to those dedicated to a secular and just India. In a statement to news agency PTI, ANHAD said: “It is well-known that Gauri Lankesh had consistently opposed right-wing forces, despite the threats and court cases she had to face. As the editor of ‘Lankesh Patrike’, a Kannada weekly, she had continued to raise her voice against communalism and casteism.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee describes murder as ‘sad and very alarming’
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the killing as “sad and very alarming”. The CM had condemned the incident on Twitter last night as well.
Saddened at the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. Most unfortunate. Very alarming. We want justice
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) September 5, 2017
The Press Club, Kolkata also condemned the killing and demanded that the culprits be booked at the earliest. Also Read: Mamata condemns murder of Gauri Lankesh, says she was killed because of her ‘hard-hitting writing’
Bollywood condemns journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder
Bollywood celebrities like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor and Dia Mirza condemned the murder of Gauri Lankesh, calling it an attack on independent press. Akhtar, while citing a pattern in the murder, wrote on Twitter: “Dhabolkar, Pansare, Kalburgi, and now Gauri Lankesh. If one kind of people are getting killed which kind of people are the killers.”
Shabana Azmi tweeted, “#Gauri Lankesh shot dead outside her home. Shocking. Devastating. Dabholkar Pansare Kalburgi culprits must be punished.” While Sonam wrote, “Truth alone prevails. Your voice will be heard and shall turn into an echo towards justice. #GauriLankeshMurder.”
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur wrote: “To kill someone for their views is not Democracy, its beginnings of a Banana Republic, where violence speaks louder than words #GauriLankesh.”
After being in the mainstream media, working with The Times of India at its Bengaluru edition, ‘Sunday’ magazine and a Telugu T V channel, Gauri took over the mantle from her father P Lankesh, a progressive writer, to run “Lankesh Patrike”. A family feud led her to start her own tabloid “Gauri Lankesh Patrike” in 2005.
With Left leanings, Gauri, an outspoken activist, was also actively involved in bringing Naxals into the mainstream and often came in conflict with rightwing outfits.
US condemns murder of Gauri Lankesh
The US too condemned the murder of Gauri Lankesh, whose gunning down by unidentified assailants in Bengaluru has sparked an outrage. “The US Mission in India joins advocates of press freedom in India and worldwide in condemning the murder of respected journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. “We offer our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Lankesh,” the US Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement here. Also Read: US Embassy condemns murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh
CPI(M) condemns killing, attacks RSS, BJP
The CPI(M) today alleged that Gauri Lankesh’s killing fits into the “familiar pattern” of eliminating voices that dare to speak against “climate of intolerance” created by the RSS and BJP. In a statement, the CPI(M) said: “The Politburo strongly condemns the cold-blooded murder…. This killing, fits into a by now familiar pattern of eliminating voices that dare to speak out against the current climate of hate and intolerance by the RSS/BJP.”
Writers’ forum condemns ‘unmaking of India’
The Indian Writers’ Forum pledged today to continue her fight against the “haters of free speech and a plural India”. The forum described Lankesh as a “voice of dissent, a voice of reason” who was “silenced with guns”. In a statement, the forum said: “The forum condemns the continued unmaking of India in which writers, artists, scholars, rationalists – and indeed any citizen who exercises her right to speak freely – is no longer safe. “We will continue to speak on her behalf and ours. They cannot silence us all.”
Slain journalist Gauri Lankesh laid to rest with State honours
Gauri Lankesh was today laid to rest with state honours. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, JD (S) MLA B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan, multi-lingual actor Prakash Raj, playwrights, theatre personalities, journalists and social activists were in attendance.