New Delhi: The well-known journalist and editor Gauri Lankesh, a household name for readers in Karnataka because of her sharp writing and bold views, was shot dead at her residence in Bengaluru late on September 5.
According to The Hindu, Lankesh was shot three times by unidentified men at close range at around 8 pm at the entrance of her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar.
She was the editor of the weekly Gauri Lankesh Patrike – a magazine that has been described as an “anti-establishment” publication – and had recently faced attack for her views against communalism.
The noted Karnataka writer K. Marulisidappa, who knew Lankesh from her childhood, told The Wire that the news of her murder was absolutely devastating. “She was taking a bold stand, a very bold stand against the Sangh parivar here,” he said. The fact that she had been killed makes it clear how dangerous the situation is now, he added. “The same people who killed Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi have now killed her,” he said, referring to the earlier murders of rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka who had also angered the Right with their writings and speeches.
In November 2016, Lankesh was held guilty of defamation for an article she ran in 2008, which Prahlad Joshi, a BJP MP from Dharwad, and Umesh Dushi, also of the BJP, had found objectionable. The article had alleged that the BJP MP was directly involved in corruption. Lankesh, who challenged her conviction and was subsequently released on bail, had at the time said that her publication had been targeted because of her politics.
A strong advocate of freedom of press, Lankesh had in June 2017 written an article for The Wire saying that legislators in Karnataka had no business to sit in judgment on journalists and that it was time they were stripped of their privileges.
Several journalists and activists took to Twitter to express their condolences as the news of her death came to light.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: