Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT finds hitlist with Gauri’s name at No.2, theatre legend Girish Karnad at top

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka Police has found Gauri Lankesh’s name on the second number in one of the two hitlists in a diary recovered from a key suspect linked to a Hindutva outfit. Theatre legend Girish Karnad’s name is on the first number and has promptly been provided with state security.

Indian Express reported that a majority of names from the two lists are from Karnataka and Maharashtra and the concerned authorities have been notified of the matter. The diary was found in the possession of  a resident of Pune and a former convenor of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), Amol Kale, 37.

Kale, suspected to be part of the HJS was arrested from the Davangere region of Karnataka on May 21 has been identified as the one who head the operations that killed her.

The SIT, in documents validating the diary seizure, stated that a sheet with eight names in English — including Nidumamidi Swamiji, a seer opposed to superstition, at No. 8 — were found in the diary in Kale’s possession. The diary was found to be printed in July 2016.

“These lists were some kind of tentative collection of names compiled at the end of discussions by a small group of people. They seem to be random lists which would undergo changes. Though Lankesh was named at No. 2, she was targeted first,’’ police sources said.

The execution of the murder plot took place after one of the suspects identified Lankesh’s house. It gained momentum in 2017, according to the documents.

“In June 2017, Amol Kale alias Bhaisaab and Dada (a missing suspect) summoned the accused Manohar Edave alias Manoj to the Sweekar Hotel in Belgaum and told him to study the movements and routine of Gauri Lankesh who had been criticizing the Hindu religion,’’ the SIT stated in a May 31 remand plea in court.

Early in July, in a breakthrough in the murder investigation of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, the SIT probing the case suspected that four top-level leaders of a pro-Hindutva outfit were the ones who conceived the plot to kill her and other rationalists, the news minute reported.

Gauri Lankesh was shot outside her residence on September 2017.

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