The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh murder recovered a diary which had names of several prominent rationalists and noted writers mentioned in it. The SIT claimed last week that many key targets were on the hit list of the gang involved in the Gauri Lankesh murder. As a result, the security of these rationalists and writers has been tightened.
Security of these people was tightened right after Lankesh’s murder. However, The SIT has now asked for additional arrangements due to the threat from right-wing fringe groups.
The revelation was made by the SIT after the arrest of the last of six suspects in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, Parashuram Waghmare. The diary was obtained from Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, who played a direct role in the murder of Lankesh. Praveen also revealed that noted Kannada writer Prof KS Bhagawan, actor Girish Karnad, former minister BT Lalitha Naik, rationalist CS Dwarakanath and pontiff Veerabhadra Channamalla Swamy of Nidumamidi Mutt were also on the hit list of the gang that murdered Lankesh.
The Sit managed to bust the gang with the help of Praveen, who used to recruit people for the gang in Karnataka. All the people on the hit list are known for their anti-Hindutva stance and were, therefore, on their radar.
The gang has a wide network spread across five states namely, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa, and comprises at least 60 people.
On the one hand, the SIT stated that the gang might have members from outfits like Maharashtra-based Hindu Jagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha but at the same time maintained that these organisations may not be directly responsible for the killings. On the other hand, these organisations have denied any role in the killings of Lankesh, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi.
The SIT also said that the plan to kill rationalist KS Bhagwan was almost complete before the murder of Gauri Lankesh and that actor Girish Karnad’s surveillance was in the last phase.