Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today termed the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh “an onslaught on humanity” and said his government would ensure that the culprits were brought to justice. The government is “honest” in its efforts to find those behind the killing and bring them to justice, he told the Legislative Assembly on the opening day of the winter session of the legislature here, which was marked by thin attendance.
Gauri Lankesh, known to be an anti-establishment voice with strident anti-right wing views, was shot dead at close range by unknown assailants at her home here on the night of September 5. “It is a cruel death..it is an onslaught on humanity,” Siddaramaiah said during the obituary reference to Lankesh in the House.
“We have still not been able to nab those who killed her. An SIT has been formed to nab them,” he said. Informing the Assembly that killers of rationalist M M Kalburgi were also yet to be found, the chief minister said, “The government and investigating team are honest in their efforts to nab the culprits.”
Kalburgi (77) was gunned down by two unidentified men at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka on August 30, 2015.
JD(S) leader YSV Datta said Lankesh’s killing was “intolerance shooting a bullet at freedom of expression.” Leader of Opposition Jagadish Shettar demanded that the culprits be nabbed at the earliest.
Asserting that the state home minister had earlier said that the investigation team had got clues about the killers, the BJP leader said, “Reveal it and clear the air. No attempt should be made to blame someone unnecessarily.”
State Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy had on Saturday said that the killers of Lankesh would “100 per cent” be nabbed in a few weeks. He had also said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the killing had clues about the assailants, but those could not be disclosed at the moment.
The state government has announced Rs 10 lakh reward for anyone giving clues about perpetrators of the crime. The SIT had on October 14 released the sketches of two suspects and video footage from CCTV cameras in connection with the case, and had sought people’s help in nabbing the accused.
Besides Lankesh, the House also paid tributes to former and sitting members of the legislature and eminent people, including ex-chief minister Dharam Singh, MLAs Qamarul Islam and Chikkamadu, and former ISRO chief U R Rao, who passed away during the inter-session period.
After the obituary reference, the House was adjourned till tomorrow. When the House met at 11 am, Speaker K B Koliwad said he was adjourning the House with “pain”, due to lack of quorum.