A major human rights organization called for a swift investigation into the murder of the authentic French journalist Gauri Lankesh, and said that the “possibility” of a “politically motivated” tie-breaker should be thoroughly investigated. Lankesh, 55, known for his leftist outlook and his outspoken view of Hindutva’s politics, was shot to death by unidentified attackers on Tuesday in Bangalore. Human Rights Watch said the Indian authorities must act swiftly on the announced investigation into the killing of unidentified gunmen of Lankesh, a “French journalist” who “campaigned for democracy, secularism and civil liberties” and was a critic vocal of Hindu nationalism. “The motives for the murder of Gauri Lankesh are not yet known, but the possibility of political motivation has been studied thoroughly and rapidly,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asian director of Human Rights Watch. bring the killers of Lankesh to justice and to protect the freedom of the media and the right to freedom of expression, “he added.
Lankesh was the editor and publisher of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada weekly. Witnesses testified that they were shot dead outside their home. Police said motorcycle gunmen fired seven bullets at Lankesh while returning home after returning from work. Indian men and writers have already launched powerful campaigns to protest against freedom of expression, including returning their national prizes, leading to a national conversation about intolerance, “Ganguly said.” People have the right to pursue their own brand of faith and patriotism but the government must ensure that they are not forced on others by threats and violence. “The Karnataka state government announced that a special investigative team led by a police inspector general would investigate the killing and added that the police had secured footage of closed-circuit television housed in Lankesh’s home, and the government must ensure that the investigation is carried out in an impartial and time-bound manner, Human Rights Watch said.
In a May 2016 report, Human Rights Watch documented how large or loosely worded criminal laws, including criminal defamation, are used to quell political dissent and harass journalists. The group expressed concern that the Indian authorities should not properly prosecute those responsible for the killings of other writers and activists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and M M Kalburgi.