Actor-politician Pawan Kalyan on Thursday condemned the brutal killing of senior Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh, dubbing it a 'heinous crime'.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, the Jana Sena party chief said, "A bullet in the forehead cannot and will not stop the expression of a committed individual who is equipped with a tiny pen in hand and with a raging fire in the heart for social commitment and social justice."
"In a nation like ours, which is multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic, multi-cultural and a great geographical and cultural diversity we are bound to have opposing political views,” he added.
Lankesh (55), was shot dead in front of her home in Bengaluru's south-west suburb by three unidentified men.
Lankesh was the editor of popular Kannada tabloid 'Gauri Lankesh Patrike', a prominent Left thinker, and a staunch critic of Hindutva politics.
Following the murder, protests were organised in various parts of India including Bengaluru, Chennai, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Delhi.
Speaking about the possible culprits behind the murder, Pawan Kalyan said, “I don’t know whether the perpetrators behind this heinous crime against ‘a frail senior journalist-wielding a simple pen’ will ever get caught or punished...It would be unfair on my part to blame the forces of ‘Hindutva’ behind the brutal killing without knowing the facts."
“But I can say one thing for sure, that they are losing their ground. By killing one Gauri Lankesh in a cold blooded manner, they will help to create a million Gauris,” he added.
The actor-politician also quoted a preface from a book, ‘The Other Path’, by Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto.
Recalling that the Shining Path Guerillas from Peru's Maoist movement had triggered a car bomb that killed scores of people, in their fight against the Institute of Liberty and Democracy (ILD), Pawan Kalyan quoted a line, which read, "When your opposition runs out of arguments, they can only make statements with gunpowder. This shows we shows we are winning and the opposition is losing ground.”
He pointed out that the ILD eventually won and the Maoists lost the trust of the Peruvians.
"May her soul rest in peace," Pawan Kalyan finally tweeted.
Condemning the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and leaders of human rights and journalism groups have also added their voices to calls for Indian authorities to bring the attackers to justice.
"I condemn the murder of Gauri Lankesh," Bokova said on Thursday. "Any attack on the media is an attack on the fundamental right to freedom of expression of each member of society. I urge the Indian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and this crime is punished.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler said: "We urge police in Karnataka to thoroughly investigate the murder of Gauri Lankesh, including whether journalism was a motive."
Human Rights Watch South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly said: "The motives for Gauri Lankesh's killing are not yet known, but the possibility of a politically motivated shooting needs to be fully and promptly investigated."