Senior Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh, a gutsy and outspoken editor, was murdered on Tuesday night at her Ideal Home Layout residence in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar.
According to reports, at around 8pm, unidentified men shot at Gauri and wounded her fatally before escaping from the scene. Initial reports say more than five shots were fired.
Police said that Gauri was getting out of her car to open the gate of her house, when assailants shot her. The shots penetrated her chest and she was killed on the spot, reports said.
"We got the information just now. She was returning home. Her home is in Ideal Home Layout in Rajarajeshwari Nagar. She got down from her car and she was opening the gate when she was shot. The details are sketchy, and we are yet to know who has done it," DGP RK Dutta said. Police have cordoned off the area around Gauri's house.
"Her neighbours heard the shots and when they rushed here, they found her lying in a pool of blood. We found four empty catridges," said Bengaluru Police Commissioner Suneel Kumar.
A friend of Gauri's told Suvarna News that she had been working until around 7.30pm and had returned home.
Gauri was the daughter of writer, translator and journalist P Lankesh. She was a veteran editor of Lankesh Patrike and columnist in both Kannada and English, and was a vocal critic of the right wing.
The manner in which Gauri was killed was eerily similar to the way in which rationalist MM Kalburgi was killed two years ago.
The former Vice Chancellor of Kannada University,Hampi, known for his outspoken criticism of the right wing, had also been shot at his residence.
The Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddharamaiah and Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that it was too early to draw conclusions. Senior police officers who had reached the house, cordoned off the entrance. As the Home Minister stepped out of the house, her friends and family raised slogans asking for justice.
He told the media that Gauri Lankesh had sought his appointment for Monday, but she did not turn up for the meeting.
Last year she was in the news as she had been convicted of criminal defamation in two cases by the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Court in Hubballi.
Dharwad BJP MP Prahallad Joshi and BJP leader Umesh Dhushi had filed individual defamation cases against Lankesh in objection to a report on BJP leaders she had published in her periodical on January 23, 2008.
Gauri was part of the Karnataka government's 'Naxal panel' in 2016, which was helping reformed Naxals surrender before the state police. Her inclusion in the panel however was opposed by many, who called her a 'Naxal sympathiser'.
In an interview to Narada News in December 2016, she had said, “As a citizen of India, I oppose the BJP’s fascist and communal politics. I oppose its misinterpretation of ‘Hindu Dharma’ ideals. I oppose the caste system of the ‘Hindu Dharma’, which is unfair, unjust and gender-biased.”
“My Constitution teaches me to be a secular citizen, not communal. It is my right to fight against these communal elements,” she said.