Four years after two bike-borne men shot dead writer, activist and journalist Gauri Lankesh, the Special Court of Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) will begin the trial on 27 May. Lankesh was killed at her residence in Bengaluru in 2017.
Her sister Kavita Lankesh, a noted filmmaker, who is also an informant in the case, has been issued summons in this regard by the Special Court Judge Anil Bheemana Katti. She has also been directed to depose before the court on 27 May.
Gauri Lankesh was the editor of a weekly Kannada tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike. She had also formed a forum against communal hate called the Komu Souharda Vedike, which worked for the marginalised communities. In 2014, she was appointed as the head of a committee formed by the Siddaramaiah-led government to convince the naxals to give up arms and surrender.
Following her murder, the government had formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the killing. The SIT, after the probe, had submitted a chargesheet and named 18 accused in connection with the case. So far, the police have arrested 17 people. The police are yet to nab Vikas Patel, also known as Nihal, who is the 18th accused in the case. The probe found that accused Amol Kale was the prime conspirator and another accused Parushuram Waghmore shot Gauri Lankesh dead.
The SIT has said in the chargesheet that the Hindu extremist organisation, Sanatan Sanstha, is responsible for the murder of Gauri Lankesh. The SIT also said that the murder of Gauri Lankesh was linked to the murders of other left-leaning activists and rationalists like Professor MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. Police have concluded that the same team was behind all the murders, which were allegedly carried out for ideological reasons.
Amit Baddi, Ganesh Miskin, Amit Degwekar, Bharat Kurane, Rajesh D Bangera, Mohan Nayak, Suresh HL, Sudhanva Gondalekar, Sharad B Kalaskar, Vasudev B Suryavamshi, Sujit Kumar, Manohar Yedave, Srikanth J Pangarkar, KT Naveen Kumar and Rishikesh Devadekar are the other accused persons and they are currently in judicial custody.
(Published in arrangement with The News Minute.)