Journalism is a risky field. No doubt your life is in danger once a working journalist. Gauri Lankesh’s case is not the first in history. There have been so many reporters, editors and news anchors murdered. It is the duty of the press to be liberal as well as socially responsible about the public. Though the press is a fourth pillar of the nation, it is still treated as a slave and threatened by the government. Nothing has been changed since the time of independence.
The horrifying murder of journalist/activist Gauri Lankesh was a shock for the country to lose an eminent person in this field. There was a lot of confusion, doubts, blames, and scandals during the news of the murder. Many reports and sources pointed out at various political parties being involved in the murder. The state police refused to suggest any possible suspects without investigation because of the high profile case. The BJP leader criticised the Congress-led state government for allegedly failing to protect the lives of Gauri and other writers like Kalburgi. Protests over her death took place all across India, including a rally a week after the murder attended by more than 15,000 people.
Tracing back to her murder, on 5 September 2017, three men fired seven bullets at Gauri at around 8 pm after following her from work to the house. One among those was the culprit Parashuram Waghmore who confessed in June 2018 saying, “I was told in May 2017 I had to kill someone to save my religion. I agreed. I didn’t know who the victim was. Now I feel that I should not have killed the woman.”
Whether or not 26-year-old Waghmore was manipulated or brainwashed, murder is a crime and whatever is the excuse for it cannot be justified. Questions have begun arising of on what grounds a murderer can defy his crime unless it was in self-defense.
According to the statement given by the police in ‘The Hindu’ Waghmore was not surprised when they knocked on his door on the morning of June 11th. “He seemed resigned to his fate, almost relieved that we had finally come for him. He was expecting us.”
According to reports from DNA, Waghmore said that on September 5, he was given the gun around 4 pm by the biker to commit the murder. “We went to her house in the evening. We arrived at the right time. Gauri had stopped her car in front of the gate and was opening it from inside when I approached her. I coughed lightly and she turned towards me. I pumped four bullets into her”.
In the reports in ‘The Print’, there was a CCTV footage that showed the suspect reconnaissance carried out ahead of her murder and On 3rd and 5th September, in the hours before the murder, the footage shows a slightly overweight man wearing a full black mask. The man was passing through the area several times on a red motorcycle.
After thorough investigations police have told the press that it wasn’t just three people who murdered Lankesh, but a total of 60 people were involved in the plan. Waghmore among them was the person who confessed to having allegedly murdered her. All the 60 people involved were known to be a gang of Hindu rights group, claiming to have no name. The members have a network in states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka.
Joining all the dots to the cold-blooded murder, the special investigating team is now left to find one man who has been the backbone of this entire episode. The man is Nihal, known as ‘DADA’ and has been objected by the authorities for him being the cause of all the other rationalist murders. It seems that ‘DADA’ is a murdered mafia determined to kill rationalists who speak out against extremism and orthodoxy. ‘The print’ says, ‘DADA’S suspected fellow mastermind, Amol Kale, was arrested on 29th May along with three others for an alleged conspiracy to kill rationalist K.S. Bhagwan.’ The murder was not an instant killing thought but was a well-planned crime.
Most of the Lankesh case puzzles pieces led to the solving of Kalberg’s case as well that had occurred in 2015. Police have noted that the same gang has been involved in both of these cases. Many youths are brainwashed and are ordered to murder in the name of saving religion. During the investigations of Lankesh’s case, around 1.5 crore phone calls were tracked and analyzed but were found out later that none of the killers had used their cell-phones. Luckily, in the same year of the murder in November, a conversation was caught and highlighted to take the investigations further.
The Hindu reports say that they intercepted a call by K. T. Naveen Kumar, based out of the communally sensitive Chikkamagaluru district to a friend. Kumar was the founder of Hindu Yuva Sene and allegedly a participant in programmes of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti and the Sanatan Sanstha; he had gone underground following the murder of Gauri.
Finding a lead to the case the police decided not to take any quick action or the suspects might get out of hand. Detectives and secret agents were kept on duty where Naveen’s calls were tracked and trailed between mid-November 2017 and February 2018. This helped in the progress of the investigation.
The further investigations led to the arrest of Amit Degwekar, 39, from Goa; and Manohar Edave, 29, from Vijayapura district, Karnataka. After a diary of Amol Kale (DADA’S fellow mastermind) was acquired, ‘DADA’ was brought in the frame and the SIT is now out on a search for the mafia.
Once the case is completely solved, future assassinations by the unknown gangs would probably not occur. The murder of Gauri Lankesh will find justice and all the candle marches, rallies, and protests would be worth it.