Gauri Lankesh murder: SIT custody granted to accused

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BANGALORE: Five days Special Investigation Team (SIT) custody has been granted to suspected accused K T Naveen Kumar by the Bengaluru Magistrate Court on Friday in connection with the murder of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh. On March 3, the Karnataka Police has taken Naveen Kumar into police custody for questioning in connection with the case.

According to media reports, Naveen was caught by the crime wing of the state police's central crime branch on February 18.

Earlier, a news channel had reported that a person had been held in connection with the case and was taken into custody for investigation.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), West Bengaluru, negating it, said, "This is false. No arrests have been done by the SIT."

Police had later released sketches of two suspects and asked for public help to put a name to their faces but there hadn't been much of a headway. A reward of Rs. 10 lakh had also been announced for leads that lead to the arrest of the murderers.

Gauri was shot dead by unknown by assailants outside her residence in Bengaluru on September 5, last year.

KT Naveen Kumar was earlier arrested in an arms trafficking case, but he had revealed his role in the murder during interrogation, police say.

Ms Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in the southern city of Bangalore in September last year.

She was the most high-profile journalist murdered in years. Her death sparked off protests across India.

Police say however, that Mr Kumar is not the main accused in the case.

As a journalist, Ms Lankesh often made statements that were constructed as dissent against the establishment.

She was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who arrived by motorcycle. The motive for the crime was not clear.

She was the editor of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a tabloid known for "anti-establishment" views.

Following her murder, several protests, across the country and especially in prominent parts of Karnataka, had taken place.

She was known for her left-leaning views. As a journalist, she edited a weekly newspaper and cast a critical eye on Hindu fundamentalism in politics and fiercely opposed the caste system.

Indian reporters are being increasingly targeted by radical Hindu nationalists, activists say.

In the last few years, journalists seen to be critical of Hindu nationalists have been berated on social media, while many women reporters have been threatened with rape and assault.

Source: ANI,BBC

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