A day after the brutal killing of senior Kannada journalist and social activist Gauri Lankesh, scores of people took to the streets seeking justice across India on Wednesday.
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by unidentified men at her Bengaluru residence. She was 55.
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.
Condemnation of the murder
As news of her murder spread on Tuesday night, several activists, journalists, politicians and citizens condemned the brutal killing.
"Absolutely shocked to learn about the murder of renowned journalist Gauri Lankesh. I have no words to condemn this heinous crime," Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted.
"Gauri was an advocate of secularism. She fought against injustice," he told the media in Karnataka's capital.
"Lost a dear friend, an accomplished journalist and a wonderful human being," said Congress state unit chief G Parameshwara, calling her death "great loss to the community of independent journalism".
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday expressed her shock over Lankesh's killing and demanded justice. "Saddened at the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. Most unfortunate. Very alarming. We want justice," she tweeted.
Biotech firm Biocon's Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw tweeted: "Shocking and blood-curdling to hear about the murder of Gauri Lankesh. These monstrous criminals must be nailed and dealt with sternly".
The Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists on Tuesday expressed shock and anger at the dastardly killing.
"Gauri Lankesh has been a trenchant and courageous critic of Hindutva and casteist politics. As it is, there has been no progress in the investigation into the death of the renowned writer MM Kalburgi. The failure to book the culprits will further embolden obscurantist forces in their nefarious attempts to intimidate and silence independent voices of dissent and reason," a statement said.
"Gauri's last rites will be held at Chamrajpet Cemetery in the city," Gauri Lankesh's brother Indrajit Lankesh told reporters in Bengaluru on Wednesday at the Victoria Hospital, where her post-mortem was being conducted.
"Her mortal remains will be kept at Samsa Bayalu Rangamandira (an open air theatre) for public viewing," Lankesh said. "Gauri's eyes were donated as per her wish," he said.
The police case
The police said that three unidentified men had fired a total of seven bullets towards as she returned home from her office.
"Of the seven fired, four missed the target and hit the wall of the house. Three bullets had hit her â€” two in her chest area and one in the forehead," Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar had told reporters on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, the Karnataka Police said that it was on the hunt to trace and nab the killers of the senior journalist.
"The three special teams set up to crack the case are on the lookout for the suspected assailants. We are taking the movements of people and vehicles at check posts and inter-state borders," Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) MN Anucheth told IANS in Bengaluru.
"We have alerted our counterparts in the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as well," he added.