55-year-old journalist, Gauri Lankesh, had returned home in her car on Tuesday evening and she was opening the gate when motorcycle-borne assailants fired at her indiscriminately with two bullets hitting her in the chest and one on her forehead, police officials said.
She died instantaneously. Four bullets hit the compound wall of her building in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, the officials said.
Gauri edited Kannada tabloid ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ besides owning some other publications, and was known for her forthright views against hardline Hindutva politics.
Bengaluru police commissioner T Sunil Kumar, along with senior police officers, rushed to the spot and officials said it was not immediately known who carried out the attack and the motive behind it.
Police suspected that she was under surveillance of the assailants who must have trailed her closely. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah termed her death shocking. So did an overwhelming number of journalists and social media users.
But, amidst huge social media outrage on the shocking murder of an outspoken journalist, there were many Hindutva supporters who were seen rejoicing her assassination. Notable among them was one Twitter user, who’s followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He wrote, “One bitch dies the death of bitch and every puppy is crying with pain.”
Another user Jagrati Shukla, whose Twitter bio identifies her as a TV journalist, tweeted immediately after Lankesh’s death, “So, Commy Gauri Lankesh has been murdered mercilessly. Your deeds always come back to haunt you, they say. Amen.”
In her another tweet, this former Zee News and Network18 ‘journalist’ said, “Those who blv in bloody Revolution now mourning fate of Gauri Lankesh. How does it feel to be on the receiving end?”
Her tweets were shared hundreds of times making it clear that there were many takers for her sadism on the microblogging site.
Soon there were demands for her employer to sack her, but it appears she’s no longer associated with any news organisation because her Twitter bio doesn’t state the name of her current organisation
Lady masquerading as journalist tweeting vile crap after Gauri Lankesh’s murder. Every reply to her gives her the attention she seeks
— Padmaja joshi (@PadmajaJoshi) September 5, 2017
Which media house does she wrk for? Media community shd come together to ensure she is sacked for celebrating the murder of Gauri Lankesh. pic.twitter.com/jhEpnjYzOS
— Pankhuri Pathak (@pankhuripathak) September 5, 2017
ex Zee News reporter Jagriti Shukla justifying #GauriLankesh‘s murder.
RSS supporters on social media celebrating her assassination! pic.twitter.com/ASytuxJ78E
— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) September 5, 2017
There were other right-wing supporters, who too were seen either gloating over Lankesh’s assassination or suspecting the murder to be a handiwork of Naxals.
Maybe a disgruntled Naxal shot Gauri Lankesh … Style of murder indicates that… You should know more about it… https://t.co/xJCsvhMnAG
— MediaCrooks (@mediacrooks) September 5, 2017
I had not heard of Gauri Lankesh before. Now I know she was a Naxal sympathiser…. Means she encouraged killings…better she is dead
— miss mumbai (@missmumbai1) September 5, 2017
— Shehzad Poonawalla (@Shehzad_Ind) September 5, 2017
Lankesh was also facing a criminal defamation case by a BJP MP from Karnataka, Prahlad Joshi. In November last year, Lankesh was convicted of criminal defamation for an article that she had published in 2008. She had received jail sentence and fine but was granted bail on the same day.
While tweeting the link to the story on her conviction, the BJP’s IT Cell chief, Amit Malviya, warned other journalists of same reprisals when he wrote this, “Prahalad Joshi, BJP MP from Dharwad, gets Gouri Lankesh convicted in a defamation case. Hope other journos take note.”
— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) September 5, 2017
Malviya’s old tweet has now gone viral after the news of Lankesh’s murder began to be reported both in India and across the world.