Politicians and prominent personalities expressed their shock and anger over the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Unidentified men shot Lankesh in her home in Rajarajeshwarinagar area of Bengaluru on Tuesday. A large group of people staged a protest outside her house demanding action against her killers.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah condemned the murder and described it as an assassination of democracy. “Absolutely shocked to learn about the murder of renowned journalist Gauri Lankesh,” Siddaramaiah tweeted. “I have no words to condemn this heinous crime.”

“Gauri Lankesh has been a trenchant and courageous critic of Hindutva and casteist politics,” a statement by Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists said. “Since last November, she has been fighting her conviction in a criminal defamation case against BJP MP in Dharwad Prahallad Joshi and was out on bail.”

Bharatiya Janata Party State Chief BS Yeddyurappa urged the state government to spare no efforts in tracking down the killers. “Civil society should hang its head in shame as a woman has been killed in a heinous way,” the BJP chief said.

“The cold-blooded murder of Gauri Lankesh is reprehensible. Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi – such murderous violence has an eerie pattern,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also expressed his shock over the murder. “The culprits should be nabbed at the earliest,” the chief minister said on Twitter. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded justice in the case. “Saddened at the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. Most unfortunate. Very alarming,” Banerjee tweeted.

Lankesh was the daughter of journalist and writer P Lankesh.

Known critic of the right

In November 2016, Lankesh was convicted in two separate defamation cases for her article from January 2008 criticising leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party. She was out on bail in the case.

The article was published in Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada newspaper which was published, owned and edited by her. The article alleged that BJP MP from Dharwad, Prahalad Joshi, had been directly involved in criminal activities.

Lankesh was a known critic of the right, telling Newslaundry in an interview in 2016 after her conviction that “Modi Bhakts and the Hindutva Brigade” are “keen to somehow shut me up,” adding that they would like to see her behind bars.