Documents that the police have found with an arrested suspect in the Gauri Lankesh murder case showed that the journalist was second on one of two lists of people to be killed, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. Theatre personality Girish Karnad was on top of that list. The two lists combined had 34 names.
The Karnataka Police’s Special Investigation Team found the lists in a diary recovered from Amol Kale, a former convenor of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. He had allegedly listed the 34 names for murder in August 2016. Kale was arrested in May, and the police suspect him to be the head of operations of the group that killed Lankesh in Bengaluru in September 2017.
Most names on the lists – one with eight targets and the other with 26 – are based in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Security agencies in other states have been alerted and all of them have been provided state security since Lankesh’s murder, according to The Indian Express. All those on the lists appear to have been chosen as targets for their criticism of radical Hindutva.
“These lists were some kind of tentative collection of names compiled at the end of discussions by a small group of people,” unidentified police officials told the newspaper. “They seem to be random lists which would undergo changes. Though Lankesh was named at No. 2, she was targeted first.”
Investigators also found that two months after Lankesh was killed, Kale and four others began plotting the murder of Kannada academic KS Bhagwan in Mysuru. Bhagwan’s name was also on the list.
Ten suspects have been arrested so far in Lankesh’s murder case, including four in the last one week.