Mamata Banerjee participates in candlelight vigil to condemn Lankesh's murder

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"The murder coming even as the perpetrators of other political killings - M.M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar - continue to evade justice embolden and send signals that such killings can go ahead with impunity".

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday urged the Karnataka government to probe the murder of senior Kannada journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh "seriously, arrest her killers and punish them". "It also said that Karnataka government's investigation was not reliable", Kumar said, citing the apex court order.

Ms Lankesh (55), known for her left-leaning outlook and forthright views on Hindutva politics, was shot dead by unidentified assailants at her Bengaluru residence last evening.

This brutal murder of an outspoken journalist is a dastardly attack seeking to muzzle free speech and freedom of the press. "The point is the entire ideology is to silence voices", he told reporters. "The Congress government must investigate the matter and book the culprits soon", he said.

"It is an extremely sad moment for our democracy and a chilling reminder of the fact that intolerance and bigotry is raising its ugly head in our society", Gandhi said.

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The Minister also blamed Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his government for not taking previous sensitive criminal cases seriously.

Siddaramaiah on Wednesday also announced a SIT probe, to be headed by Inspector General-level officer in the matter, saying his government had an "open mind" to an investigation by the CBI, which the slain journalist's family has demanded.

Union Minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari hit back, terming as "irresponsible, baseless and false" the Congress allegation seeking to link the killing of Gauri to the BJP or people following its ideology.

The SIO Bhatkal unit in the presence of their unit president Zuhair SM and Secretary Abud Asif submitted an memorandum to the Governor of the state through Bhatkal Assistant commissioner (AC) demanding a quick and fair investigation of the case.