BENGALURU: The murder of activist and senior journalist Gauri Lankesh has hit where it hurts most—our conscience. It has made us sit up and wonder whether we as a nation have failed our brave warriors. Even as conspiracy theories make the rounds, the Karnataka government announced a `10-lakh reward for providing information on the killers and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has begun its investigations.
With the state assembly elections nearing, the blame game in political circles has started. Congress is blaming the right wing including the RSS for the killing, while the BJP is blaming the left wing and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for not providing protection to Gauri. The activist was on the state government’s committee for Naxal rehabilitation.
Even as the powers-that-be squabbled, the nation came out on to the streets in protest of the gruesome killing. Protests were organised by the journalistic fraternity, as well as anyone who stood against such blatant use of force to silence dissent.SIT is probing multiple angles into the killing of the Kannada tabloid editor. Three teams of SIT are looking into both right and left-wing groups including the Naxal connection. They are also investigating whether Gauri had been involved in any personal or property dispute with family.
The SIT questioned several people who were constantly in touch with the activist for the last few months. Two teams have also been sent to neighbouring states, including Tamil Nadu-Kerala border areas to gather information about Naxal activities and also sale of country-made firearms.A team of police officials from Telangana have also joined the probe and they are concentrating on whether any Naxal group had a dispute over her initiative to help Naxals surrender.An officer of the SIT said, “We still have no clarity on the number of assailants. We are also analysing mobile phone records, CCTV footage and are also looking out for supari killers who are active in the state.”
Sources further said the team was looking into any disputes Gauri might have had with anyone and also the cases filed against her, besides recent threats she had received on social media.
The SIT will also question BJP MLA DN Jeevaraj, who had reportedly stated that Gauri would have been alive had she not written against the RSS. Meanwhile, the Bengaluru Cyber Crime police on Thursday arrested a 22-year-old unemployed youth for posting objectionable comments on social media after Gauri’s killing. He was booked under IT Act on the charges of publishing obscene material in electronic form.
Left office at Basavangudi around 7.30 pm on September 5
Reached home around 8.20 pm
Assailants, who came on a two-wheeler shot her from close range soon after she got down from her car
She sustained bullet injuries in her chest and was killed on the spot
Four empty cartridges were found near the body
State government constituted a 19-member SIT headed by IGP, Intelligence, BK Singh