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Indian journalist shot dead in Bangalore

A prominent Indian journalist, said to be critical of Hindu nationalist politics, has been shot dead outside her home in Bangalore, police say

6 September 2017, 9:39am
Gauri Lankesh. Photo: The News Minute
Gauri Lankesh. Photo: The News Minute
Gauri Lankesh, 55, a senior Indian journalist and activist was shot dead outside her residence in Bangalore.

Lankesh, the editor of an Indian tabloid that has frequently been critical of Hindu extremists, was shot by three assailants when she was entering her property on Tuesday evening and she died shortly after. According to officers, the motive remains unclear.

Lankesh was known to be a fierce critic of Hindu nationalist organisations in her state and was convicted of defamation last year for a piece that accused members of the Bharatiya Janata party of theft. Last year, she told Indian website Newslaundry that the “rabid hate” directed at her online made her fear the state of free expression in India.

“Unfortunately, today anybody talking in support of human rights and against fake encounters [extrajudicial killings] is branded a Maoist supporter,” she said.

The Press Club of India said in a statement that it believed the murder was linked to Lankesh’s work.

“A fearless and independent journalist who gave voice to many causes and always stood up for justice has been shot dead in the most brutal manner in order to silence her voice,” said the statement.

“Whatever differences she had with anyone, it was certainly not the way to attack an outspoken journalist who was defenceless and had nothing to offer by way of resistance. Such attacks on the freedom of press will not be tolerated.”

In a report published last year, the Committee to Protect Journalists said that 27 journalists had been killed “with complete impunity” in India since 1992. Another 25 murders were listed as it was investigating to ascertain any connections to the work of the journalists.