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Bullets Fired At Gauri Lankesh Could Give Vital Clues On Killers

Bengaluru:  More than a week since the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, there have been no arrests or clear leads in the case. 

Police have submitted the bullets and cartridges found at the scene of the murder – Ms Lankesh’s home – to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). Sources in the Special Investigative Team set up specifically to look into the murder said the report from the lab is expected today. The report is expected to indicate the type of weapon used, the calibre – and whether a single weapon was used to kill the journalist or if shots were fired from more than one weapon. 

Responding to reports that the same gun was used to kill Gauri Lankesh as was used in the murder of rationalist MM Kalburgi two years ago, the source said it was too early to say. Information was still being taken from the CBI which had taken that case over from the CID. Those reports would be sent to the FSL and a possible indication as to whether it was the same weapon would be known after about a week. 

There have been no arrests in the case of MM Kalburgi either – and that is causing concern in the matter of the latest murder also. There are hopes that this will not be another unsolved crime. 

Like Ms Lankesh, Mr Kalburgi was also shot dead outside his house. He was killed on August 30, 2015. It is widely believed that both were killed because of the views they held and openly expressed. 

CCTV footage has also been examined by the SIT. Footage from Ms Lankesh’s home in west Bengaluru has shown her being shot dead by a person in a helmet – but no number plate on the motorbike the person was riding is visible.  The killer’s face is also not seen. 

Despite there being no arrests so far in the case – many have publicly speculated that the right-wing was behind the murder as Ms Lankesh was known for her left and anti-Hindutva views. Earlier this week, the BJP sent a legal notice to historian Ramachandra Guha, who had alleged that Gauri Lankesh’s killers could be from the Sangh Parivar – a group of organisations led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor. 

Another theory that was mentioned by her brother, Indrajit, was that Maoists could be behind the killing. Gauri Lankesh had worked with Maoists, persuading some of them to give up arms and it was speculated whether this had drawn the anger of Maoists who were still part of the armed movement. Indrajit later went on to say that he wanted all angles investigated – right or left. 

Her younger sister, Kavitha, has said she does not believe that Maoists were behind the killing.