Eighteen writers, rationalists and progressive thinkers across Karnataka have been given police protection, after journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru earlier this week. The writers have been given protection after the Intelligence Department issued an advisory.

Playwright Girish Karnad (pictured above), writer KS Bhagwan, Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swami of Nidumamidi Mutt, Kum Veerabhadrappa, Baragur Ramachandrappa, Patil Puttappa and Chennaveera Kanavi, among others, were given protection, according to reports in The Times of India and The Hindu. When contacted, Karnad’s son Raghu Karnad confirmed the development.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also asked the police to prepare a list of writers and activists facing death threats and give them protection, The Times of India reported. A senior Intelligence Department officer told The Hindu a list was drawn up after studying the threat perception to these individuals.

The decision to provide security to them comes a day after Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad criticised the Congress government in Karnataka over Lankesh’s murder.

On Tuesday, unidentified men fired at least four shots at Lankesh before escaping on a motorbike. Lankesh was an outspoken critic of Hindutva groups and edited and published a Kannada newspaper called Gauri Lankesh Patrike. She also wrote widely in the English press.