'Fearless' Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead outside of her home

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The United States too spoke on the issue, with its embassy in New Delhi releasing a statement condemning the murder.

Amid strong condemnation of the murder of Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh, the Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Congress-ruled Karnataka government. "We offer our honest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Ms. Lankesh", a statement released by the embassy read.

Tulsidas Bhoite, Editor of Jai Maharashtra said, "The culprit responsible for murdering Gauri Lankesh will be caught after investigation".

"A Special Investigative Team, headed by an IG will be constituted".

"She was shot dead from a close range at her house in Rajarajeshwari Nagar (in the suburbs) around 8 p.m.as she was entering the house", Bengaluru Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar had told reporters here on Tuesday. "Currently three teams are involved in the investigation and the attackers will be arrested quickly".

"This is an organised crime, but let the police look into it", he said, adding, "I have instructed the police to take the case seriously".

"She was a rationalist and we do not want to go against her ideologies", he had said. "I have instructed the police to give police protection to all free thinkers", he added.

The funeral also saw the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah along with several other ministers.

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People, including BJP members, have also openly insulted journalists, using terms like "presstitute" - a combination press and prostitute - to berate them. The CM also said that his government was not opposed to a CBI probe, a demand made by the slain journalist's family.

They said she was a critical, secular voice at a time when the country was being swept by a wave of right-wing, Hindu nationalism.

"The silencing of a journalist in this manner has unsafe portents for Indian democracy", said Shobhana Jain, the president of Indian Women's Press Corps.

While the Congress said "muzzling the voices of ordinary citizens and silencing dissent" was the slogan of "new India" under the Modi government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) denied any links between BJP and its allied organisations in Lankesh's killing.

Protest marches were taken out in different parts of the state by media personnel, who sported black badges and held placards condemning the shooting of Lankesh by unidentified assailants at her residence last night.

According to sources, the CCTV footage of her murder showed a man in helmet approaching Ms Lankesh.

■ Lankesh, a writer, publisher and editor, had returned home in her vehicle and was opening the gate when she was shot, with two bullets hitting her in the chest and one on her forehead, police officials said. Rains could not dampen people's respect for 55-year-old Gauri, known for her Left-leaning and anti-right wing stand. She said the case was politically motivated and vowed to challenge her conviction in a higher court.

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