Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist and activist in Bengaluru, has been shot dead at her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar.
The Bengaluru Police Commissioner has confirmed the incident; top police officers have rushed to the spot.
"We learnt that the victim was shot dead from close range when she was standing at her house in Rajarajeswari Nagar (in the suburbs) around 8.00 p.m.," a senior police officer said.
Lankesh, known to be a critic of right-wing groups and Sangh organisations, was the editor of weekly tabloid magazine Lankesh Patrike. In her work, she frequently criticised communal violence.
Last year she was convicted of criminal defamation in two cases.
BJP MP Prahallad Joshi and BJP leader Umesh Dushi had filed defamation cases against Lakesh in objection to a report on them on January 23, 2008.
She had told News Laundry in an interview: "Unfortunately, today anybody talking in support of human rights and against fake encounters is branded a Maoist supporter. Along with that, my criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system, which is part and parcel of what is considered ‘Hindu dharma’, makes my critics brand me as a ‘Hindu hater’. But I consider it my constitutional duty to continue - in my own little way - the struggle of Basavanna and Dr Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society.”
Police sources said three assailants were involved and she was shot in the head and chest, and died immediately.
Lankesh, 55, was the daughter of famous poet-turned-journalist P Lankesh, who began Lankesh Patrike. She lived in Ideal Homes in Rajarajeshwari Nagar area to the south-west of the city, where she was murdered.
According to eye witnesses, the 55-year-old journalist was standing near the gate of her house when three men on a motor bike sprayed her with bullets.