Senior Indian journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on Tuesday in the southern city of Bengaluru by unidentified assailants, police said.
The editor of an Indian weekly newspaper, Lankesh was found lying in a pool of blood outside her home. The 55-year-old known for being critical of Hindu nationalist politics received three gunshots to the head and chest.
“People in front of her house heard gunshots,” the city’s Police commissioner, T Suneel Kumar, told reporters. “We found four empty cartridges from the scene.”
“A total of seven bullets were fired out of which four missed the target and hit the wall of the house. Three bullets had hit her — two in her chest area and one in the forehead,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar said further.
Lankesh’s views were considered leftist and anti-Hindutva. She ran the weekly ‘Gauri Lankest Patrike’, a tabloid and faced opposition and criticism of her journalism. Last year, she was convicted of criminal defamation for one of her articles.
While the motivation for the killing was not immediately clear, political leaders, journalists and activists took to Twitter to express their outrage and denounce intolerance and any threat to free speech.
Karnataka state’s chief minister Siddaramaiah called it an “assassination on democracy”.
Rahul Gandhi condemned the killing saying “the truth will never be silenced.”