A day after 55-year-old journalist Gauri Lankesh was murdered at her Bengaluru residence on Tuesday, her brother has demanded a CBI probe into the killing.
"I do not know how to react," Gauri's brother Indrajit Lankesh told journalists. "The assailants should be brought to the book. The case should be handed over to CBI."
Lankesh was found at the verandah of her Rajarajeshwari Naga residence after she was shot at close range. She died of multiple bullet injuries. One of the bullets was reportedly fired at her forehead, reported NDTV.
Bengaluru Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar told media that Lankesh did not complain of any threats.
"She didn't complain of anything," Kumar told journalists on Tuesday night. "If she anywhere expressed about threats, it will be thoroughly investigated."
According to police, Lankesh was found lying in a pool of blood. Four empty cartridges were recovered from the scene of crime.
"Out of four, how many entered Gauri's body, only the post mortem report will tell," Kumar said.
Lankesh had reportedly just reached home and stepped out of her car to open the gate to her house when the gunmen fired bullets.
The cops have retrieved the CCTV footage from Lankesh's residence from the two cameras near her house, according to Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy. Three teams have been formed to scan the footage and track the assailants.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire at Lankesh at around 8-8:30 pm on Tuesday night. Her body was later sent to Victoria hospital for a post-mortem. She will be cremated today.
Lankesh was the editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a magazine described as an 'anti-establishment' publication.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called Lankesh's brutal killing an "assassination on democracy".
Reddy has said it's too early to draw parallels between the murder of Gauri Lankesh with the killings of doctor and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 and scholar Malleshappa Kalburgi in 2015. Both were allegedly murdered by fringe Hindu groups in a similar manner. Neither of the two probes have led anywhere till date.
"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," said Reddy. "It is very premature to hold anybody responsible for the incident."
Karnataka Law Minister TB Jayachandra alleged that there was a "conspiracy" behind Lankesh's death. "There are similarities between Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh's murder. It is really shocking," he said. "She was always committed to secular credentials. There must be some conspiracy behind this. It is a serious matter, we will take it up."
The civil society, journalism fraternity, and human rights groups have come together to protest against Lankesh's murder.
The Network of Women in Media, India said in a statement that they stand in solidarity with the slain journalist. "To the spirit of Gauri Lankesh, you inspire us forever," read the statement. "To journalists everywhere, this is a note of solidarity... This does not and should not need to be prefaced with good. Or courageous. Or brave. We must simply power on in the face of the greatest adversity, threats and political opposition to do what our job mandates. To be free and fair and stand together solidly behind each other to be able to rise against the tidal wave of intolerance and often criminal intimidation that surrounds us and tries to prevent us everywhere. We want to declare to ourselves and to everyone that is watching with and without malice - we will not be prevented, silenced, outdone or shut down."
"Gauri Lankesh was never afraid of speaking truth to power. Her assassination must be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice," said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India. "The police must investigate whether she was killed because of her journalism."
(with agency inputs)
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