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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Gauri Lankesh: the journalist who never stopped questioning

Bengaluru: When she entered journalism in the early 1980s, Gauri Lankesh gave no one an inkling of what she would later become more famous for—her fearless activism, particularly against the right-wing.

A daughter of writer and journalist P. Lankesh, Gauri was shot to death at her house in the Raja Rajeshwari Nagar neighbourhood of Bengaluru late on Tuesday. The editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a local tabloid, was 55.

“This (activist streak) was not at all visible when she came into journalism. She was like any other reporter," Dakshina Murthy, a senior journalist in Bengaluru and a former colleague, said. “For a long time, we didn’t even know she was Lankesh’s daughter."

Having started her career in Sunday Midday, she went on to work with Sunday magazine and later in The Times of India in Delhi and Bengaluru for many years. After spending some years in mainstream journalism, she became a crusader like her father. She became equally an activist and a journalist, said people who have known her from close quarters.

Also read: Senior journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead at her Bengaluru residence

Murthy said Gauri’s activist leanings came to the fore only after Karnataka Naxal leader Saketh Rajan was killed in an encounter in 2005. “She got together with others and protested and that’s when she came to the limelight as an activist," he says.

Gauri went on to form a group called Komu Souharda Vedike, a forum for communal harmony, earning the ire of the far right.

“She worked for the downtrodden and uplifted them," said K.S. Vimla of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, a left-oriented women’s organisation.

In 1980, her father started a tabloid called Lankesh Patrike, which he ran till his death in 2000. After Lankesh’s death, his son Indrajit took over the paper. Indrajit and Gauri parted ways over differences in the running of the paper, and the latter went on to found Gauri Lankesh Patrike.

In November, 2016, Gauri was convicted by a court in Hubballi of defaming two Bharatiya Janata Party politicians. member of Parliament from Dharwad, Prahalad Joshi, and Umesh Dushi, who filed individual defamation cases against Lankesh, The Hindu reported on 28 November last year. She was arrested and subsequently released on bail.

Writer and friend C.K. Meena remembers Lankesh as a feisty and fearless person. The two had known each other since 1980. “We shared a sort of a back-slapping camaraderie," Meena said.

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Updated: 06 Sep 2017, 06:58 PM IST
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