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gauri lankUnidentified attackers fatally shoot editor of Lankesh Patrike weekly magazine at her home in the southern city. A prominent Indian journalist has been shot dead by unidentified attackers at her residence in the southern city of Bangalore, according to police.

I'm branded 'Hindu hater' for critiquing Hindutva politics, journo said in 2016.

In an interview with News Laundry after Gauri was released on bail in 2006, the 55-year-old journalist said that her criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system makes her critics brand her as a "Hindu hater."

"Unfortunately, .......... my criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system, which is part and parcel of what is considered ‘Hindu dharma’, makes my critics brand me as a ‘Hindu hater’. But I consider it my constitutional duty to continue - in my own little way - the struggle of Basavanna and Dr Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society."

Gauri Lankesh, the editor of the weekly local magazine Lankesh Patrike, was attacked on Tuesday as she left her car after reaching her home in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state, India.

The assailants fled the scene.

Police officer RK Dutta said it was too early to say who killed her. He told The Associated Press agency that he had met Lankesh recently, but she had not spoken of any threat to her life.

Last year, Lankesh was found responsible in a defamation case by a politician of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for her writings about Hindu nationalists.

In 2015, an Indian scholar and critic of religious superstition, Malleshappa M Kalburgi, was killed in a similar manner in Bangalore after receiving death threats from angry right-wing Hindu groups for criticising idol worship.

He was the third critic of religious superstition to be killed in the country in three years.

'Voice silenced'

Lankesh's friends described her as a fearless and outspoken journalist.

Following the news of her death, politicians, writers and fellow journalists took to social media to express their outrage at the "heinous crime".

Lankesh was the daughter of famous poet-turned-journalist P Lankesh, who started Lankesh Patrike.

A Prominent Indian Journalist Has Been Shot Dead Outside Her Home in Bangalore

A veteran Indian journalist known for her outspoken criticism of Hindu nationalist politics has been shot dead in the southern city of Bangalore in Karnataka state.

Police who recovered the body of Gauri Lankesh, 55, on Tuesday night said she had been killed by unknown gunmen on a motorcycle, The Times of India reports. Her body was reportedly found lying in a pool of blood near the door of her house.

Lankesh was the editor of left-wing independent newspaper Lankesh Patrike, founded by her late father, a renowned poet-turned-journalist. She also started her own newspaper, the Gauri Lankesh Patrike.

Activists say journalists are being increasingly targeted by radical Hindu nationalists and her death is the latest in a string of assassinations targeting journalists and secularists critical of extreme Hindu nationalism and religious superstition in India. In 2015, scholar Malleshappa M. Kalburgi was shot dead at his home in Bangalore and earlier that same year politician and writer Govind Pansare was killed.

"The attack on the select writers is obviously happening because they are able to mould public opinion... there is a pattern in the way assailants come on motorbikes, kill, and vanish," Karnataka-based writer K Marulasiddappa told the BBC. "There cannot be any personal reasons attributed to her death because she had no personal enemies. So, the possibility is only political.''

Karnataka state's chief minister Siddaramaiah condemned the killing and promised a thorough investigation into the death of Lankesh, who he described on Twitter as a "progressive force."

At the time of her death, Lankesh was on bail appealing the verdict of a defamation case that had resulted in a six month jail sentence for a story on local leaders of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Courtesy: AL Jazeera, The Times of India, BBC