Hours after 55-year-old journalist Gauri Lankesh was gunned down by unknown assassins on the doorstep of her home in a suburb in Bengaluru on Tuesday, the police have identified some crucial clues related to her murder. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into Lankesh's death.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the weapon used to shoot Lankesh was of the same make that killed Narendra Dabholkar in 2013 and MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare in 2015.
A 7.65 mm country-made pistol, which is commonly available, was used to shoot at Lankesh from less than 10 feet away. Three of the four bullets fired hit her in the abdomen, lungs and heart. The fourth was found lodged in a wall of her home. The assassins allegedly shot at her until she collapsed dead on the spot.
The Indian Express adds that Bengaluru police are likely to seek forensic analysis of the bullet fragments and cartridges from the murder of Lankesh for comparison with similar materials found in the killings of Kalburgi, Pansare and Dabholkar before they can confirm or rule out the involvement of a common group.
The Times of India also reported of CCTV footage retrieved from cameras installed in Lankesh's house that showed the assassin as wearing a helmet and balck jacket, following her in. After being shot once, Lankesh tried to run away, but the killer ran after her and shot more bullets until she lay dead. Minutes later, they made their escape by two-wheelers that were parked near Lankesh's car outside her home.
The police will be also investigating CCTV footage from the road that led to Lankesh's residence to check if she was being stalked by her assassins on her way back home. Lankesh's brother Indrajit has pointed finger at the possible involvement of Naxalites in her murder.
In spite of the uproar following the murder of the three rationalists, in Karnataka and Maharashtra, in the last two years, precious little progress has been made in the investigation into the crimes. The three men, as well as Lankesh herself, were trenchant critics of Hindutva activists and had opposed right-wing politics all their lives.
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