In reaction to the violent incident, a US-based media watchdog today urged the Karnataka Police to thoroughly investigate the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh who was shot dead at her residence in Bangalore. Lankesh, 55, known for her left-leaning outlook and forthright views on Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants on September 5.
“We urge police in Karnataka to thoroughly investigate the murder of Gauri Lankesh, including whether journalism was a motive,” said Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) Asia Programme Coordinator Steven Butler.
Butler said in a statement that India needs to address the problem of impunity in journalist murders and ensure the press can work freely. Lankesh’s murder is the latest in a series of fatal attacks on intellectuals, with the authorities discovering links between the killings.
The 7.65 mm countrymade weapon used to shoot Lankesh is the same model as the weapons used in the killing of rationalist and Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi, 77, on August 30, 2015 at Dharwad, and those used in the murder of Maharashtra rationalists Govind Pansare, 81, in Kolhapur on February 16, 2015 and Narendra Dabholkar in Pune on August 20, 2013.
Forensic investigations of the cartridges and bullets recovered from the unsolved murders of Kalburgi, Pansare and Dabholkar have revealed that the 7.65 mm pistol used to kill Kalburgi was the same gun that was used to murder Pansare. The forensic probe also revealed that one of two guns used to shoot Pansare was used to kill Dabholkar in 2013.
The Bengaluru police are likely to seek forensic analysis of the bullet fragments and cartridges from the crime scene of the murder of Lankesh for comparison with similar material found in the killings of Kalburgi, Pansare and Dabholkar to confirm/rule out the involvement of a common group.
The investigations in the Pansare case by the CBI suggested the involvement of a radical right wing Goa-based outfit, Sanatan Sanstha, in the killing.