BENGALURU: Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist and activist who was shot dead outside her Bengaluru home last night, asked to meet with the state Home Minister just days ago but that meeting never took place. She didn’t ask for security or complain about any threat to her life, said minister Ramalinga Reddy.
The police suspect that Ms Lankesh was shot by professional killers who had done a recce. Sources say footage extracted from two CCTVs at her home may have captured the attackers. The police have sought help to unlock the digital video recorder, which is password protected.
Ms Lankesh, an editor known to be fearless and outspoken, was shot seven times by unknown attackers as she was about to enter her home after work. One of the bullets hit her in the forehead. She was found dead on the verandah of the home, which is flanked by two vacant plots.
No witnesses have emerged so far. The police have traced the route she took from work to home and are contacting various establishments for help to retrieve CCTV footage.
The state government says she never shared anything about a threat with her family either.
“Last week she called me, she wanted to meet me, at that time I was not the Home minister. I told her to come the same day but she told me – I will come on Monday. But she did not come,” Mr Reddy told reporters.
Asked whether she had reported any threat to her life, the minister said: “No, I spoke to Datta, our DGP (Director General of Police RK Dutta), he told me that she met Datta two-three times for some other work but she never told anything, she never asked for protection as well,” he said.
The Home Minister said three teams have been formed to investigate the killing, which is chillingly similar to the murder of another prominent person in Karnataka in 2015 – scholar MM Kalburgi, who was shot dead when he opened his door to unknown bikers.
Ms Lankesh, 55, the daughter of a legendary Kannada journalist, ran her own Kannada weekly ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’.
Many of Ms Lankesh’s friends see a pattern in her murder and that of Mr Kalburgi . “We feel it’s one group or organisation that’s carrying out these attacks against people who rationalists and anti-establishment,” said senior lawyer BT Venkatesh, who had known Gauri Lankesh for the past 25 years.
Her brother Indrajit Lankesh has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.