Kannada journalist and political activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at the entrance to her Bangalore residence on Tuesday evening, according to media reports.
Three unidentified gunmen sprayed her with bullets on her doorstep in Rajarajeshwari Nagar at about 8 pm. Hearing the shots, her neighbors rushed over to find her lying in a pool of blood.
Seven rounds were fired at her, according to a preliminary investigation, three of them striking her head and chest, killing the 55-year-old instantly.
In addition to her activist activities, Lankesh was the editor of the weekly tabloid magazine Lankesh Patrike, a newspaper columnist and a panelist on television shows.
Lankesh was widely admired for taking a strong stand against communalism in Karnataka. In 2016, she was convicted in a defamation case filed by MP Prahlad Joshi. India Today reported that Lankesh was critical of the Hindutva brigade.
Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar, who rushed to the scene. to conduct the preliminary investigation, said three police teams will be formed to trace the culprits, The Hindu reported.
Her death mirrors that of the leading progressive thinker and researcher MM Kalburgi, who was shot dead at his Dharwad home in 2015.
Firstpost quoted a senior police official as saying that the modus operandi in the Gauri Lankesh murder is similar to that of the killings of the scholar M M Kalburgi and the rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.
“Bullets were fired on chest and heads, and the three assailants came on a bike. It’s very similar to what was witnessed in the murder of Pansare, Dabholkar, and Kalburgi,” the police official said.
Lankesh’s brother, Indrajit Lankesh, has reportedly requested a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into his sister’s brutal murder.