A senior Indian journalist was shot dead by unidentified attackers in southern Karnataka state, its chief minister said Tuesday, confirming the country as Asia’s deadliest for reporters.
“Absolutely shocked to learn about the murder of renowned journalist Gauri Lankesh. I have no words to condemn this heinous crime,” chief minister Siddaramaiah said on Twitter late Tuesday.
Lankesh, who edited a tabloid newspaper, was an outspoken critic of right-wing Hindu nationalist politics.
A Press Trust of India (PTI) report said that Lankesh was opening the entry gate to her residence when she was shot dead by the “motorcycle-borne assailants” in the state capital Bangalore.
The report said that Lankesh died “instantaneously” after two bullets hit her chest and one her forehead.
“I have spoken with the DGP (Director General of Police), and instructed him to ensure prompt and thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Siddaramaiah said on Twitter.
Condemning the “heinous crime”, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “This is an assassination on democracy,” he tweeted.
In fact, this is an assassination on democracy. In her passing, Karnataka has lost a strong progressive voice, and I have lost a friend.
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) September 5, 2017
Last year, she was held guilty in a defamation case filed by MP Prahlad Joshi and party associate Umesh Dushi over an article published on January 23, 2008, alleging that some BJP leaders in the region were involved in a cheating case.
India’s otherwise progressive southern state has seen some targeted killings of political activists and scholars in the recent past.
In 2015, India was rated as the deadliest country in Asia for journalists by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.