Gauri Lankesh
Facebook/Gauri Lankesh

At around 8 pm on Sept 5, 2017 an independent journalist, Gauri Lankesh's body lay in a pool of blood outside her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru. Two armed gunmen opened fire at point blank range, killing the 55-year-old on the spot. The identity of the assailants cannot be ascertained as they were wearing helmets.

Based on the evidence from the murder scene the senior journalist was killed with a 7.65 mm country- made pistol similar to those used in Dabholkar, Pansare homicides.

Known for advocating the freedom of the press, Gauri Lankesh was a rationalist thinker who voiced her opinion on issues that questioned right-wing ideology.

In November 2016 she was convicted in a Defamation case filed by a political party's MP over a report published in 'Lankesh Patrike'.

Gauri's assassination is the latest in a slew of murders that raise questions on the freedom of the press in our country. However, this is not the first time an independent and fearless journalist has been brutally murdered. In the past too, rationalists have been killed for being bold and outspoken in their political criticism. Murders of left-leaning rationalists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi bear striking resemblances to Lankesh's murder.

Amnesty International India has condemned Gauri Lankesh's murder in a statement quoting, "The killing of Gauri Lankesh by gunmen outside her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday night raises alarms about the state of 'Freedom of Expression' in the country."

According to a research conducted by the Committee to Protect Journalists, as many as 27 journalists have been murdered in direct retaliation to their work since 1992 in India.

India is also ranked 13th on the Committee's latest Impunity Index based on measuring countries where journalists are killed and the murderers go free.